Swansea City are enduring a difficult season at present, with just nine points from 15 games so far in the Premier League. Their 2-1 defeat away to Stoke on Saturday has left them rock bottom of the division, four points off safety.
With fixtures against Manchester City, Everton, Liverpool and Tottenham to come before 3rd January, their poor form could well continue.
Fans are beginning to lose patience with manager Paul Clement, the man who presided over their remarkable escape from relegation last season but is struggling to pick up points this season.
Their defensive record is solid, conceding 18 goals – only five teams have conceded more in the Premier League this season – but their problems have arisen from their inability to score, with just eight goals in 15 games.
One of the major reasons for this is the recruitment over the summer, with the Swansea board letting star players Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente leave late in the transfer window, without adequate replacement bar Wilfried Bony.
Sam Clucas was signed from Hull City but was not a direct replacement for the Icelandic star, the ex-Hull man being deployed in a deeper role by Clement.
The capture of Portuguese playmaker Renato Sanches was considered a major coup for the Welsh club on deadline day, but the 20-year-old has struggled to adapt to the Premier League, with poor form combined with injuries.
Roque Mesa was signed from Spanish club Las Palmas, but has been used sparingly by Clement, appearing just five times for the Swans.
It has been accepted by Clement that Swansea have to strengthen in January. Ironically, it was the former Derby boss’s January dealings last season that arguably played a big hand in Swansea’s survival.
Martin Olsson, Tom Carroll and Jordan Ayew all impressed, and Luciano Narsingh added extra pace to a side that was sorely lacking in that department before his arrival.
Olsson and Carroll have played major roles this season although Ayew has struggled for goals, with just one to his name, and Narsingh plays the majority of his games off the bench – the Dutch winger did not even make the bench on Saturday.
With the lack of goals obvious, Swansea need to look at expanding their frontline this window.
They have already been linked with Liverpool forward Dominic Solanke on loan, although that deal now looks unlikely. They are also rumours, as reported by Wales Online, that former Swansea man Andre Ayew will be returning to the Liberty Stadium from West Ham – he moved between the two clubs for £20 million in 2016.
Swansea have only four senior forwards in their first team squad, with Oliver McBurnie one of those four, although he has been rarely used following his proposed loan move to Barnsley which collapsed.
Tammy Abraham has been the most impressive, having secured an England call-up last month for the friendlies against Germany and Brazil, although he has not scored since the middle of October.
Meanwhile, Wilfried Bony has also struggled for goals and match fitness since his deadline day move from Stoke, despite opening scoring against his former club on Saturday, in an eventual 2-1 defeat.
The main problem comes with spending. Swansea recouped over £50 million from the sales of Sigurdsson and Llorente in the summer, and although they spent a proportion of that money in the summer (undisclosed fees on Bony and Clucas), more of that sum needs to be reinvested in the playing staff.
It is well known that quality players can be bought for low prices, but in the age of £200 million deals for players, it is difficult to replace quality like Sigurdsson and Llorente without spending big.
One point out of their last 21 makes for grim reading for Swansea fans and without strengthening in January, regardless of whether Clement is still in charge or a new man comes in, they could well be watching Championship football next season.