What does Andre Ayew's exit mean for Swansea City?

Since their promotion to the Premier League five years ago, Swansea City have become a well liked and well established member of the top division. Renowned for their aesthetically pleasing football on a relatively low budget, the Swans have enjoyed their five seasons in the top flight with barely a whiff of a relegation fight.

However, things may be about to get a whole lot tougher at the Liberty Stadium over the coming season. Their 2015/16 campaign saw them finish a respectable twelfth in the league, but was not without it’s poor moments, and Garry Monk failed to see out the campaign after leaving the Swans in the bottom three in January.

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It was not an all-around poor season, though, and the arrival of Francesco Guidolin steadied the ship and allowed the Swans to be optimistic about the new season. However, transfer activity hasn’t really been up to scratch thus far, and things have got even worse with the news that West Ham United have agreed a £20 million fee for the transfer of the club’s top scorer last term – Andre Ayew.

Ayew; signed on a free transfer last summer, scored 12 goals for the Swans, and was a rare beacon of quality up front for the Welsh side. His ability to play anywhere in attacking midfield and score goals from both inside and outside the box were critical for Swansea’s fast start and rejuvenated end to the season. In fact, his slump in form in mid-season was perhaps the main factor for Swansea’s alarming autumnal dip in form.

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So, how will they cope without the goals and threat of Ayew? For a start, there now appears to be a severe lack of goals in the team. Both Bafetimbi Gomis and Alberto Paloschi; although hardly prolific, have left for pastures new, meaning that new signing Fernando Llorente is Guidolin’s only option up front at this moment. Without the goals from Ayew from behind, the Swans could be amongst the very lowest scorers in the division.

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The South Wales outfit will also lack goals from midfield. Gylfi Sigurdsson is crucially remaining at the club, and will almost always oblige ten or so goals from his brilliant right foot, but eclectic wingers such as Wayne Routledge, Jefferson Montero, Nathan Dyer and Modou Barrow have yet to show they have the capabilities to provide significant contributions to the team’s goal tally. Ayew’s goals will be keenly missed.

It is not all doom and gloom, however. Swansea still have a very good first XI, and under Guidolin will represent an organised unit who will not ship many goals. Ashley Williams, recently subject of a £10 million bid from Everton, is one of the best central defenders in the league, and Neil Taylor was also excellent for Wales during Euro 2016. Swansea’s defensive talent has not been depleted at all, and if they remain organised, will still get points despite the sale of Ayew.

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Much also depends on how Llorente settles to life in the Premier League. He has played for top European sides such as Athletic Bilbao and Juventus, and certainly has the capability to make up some of the shortfall of goals left by Ayew. If he were to get into double figures, Swansea wouldn’t be far off the goals for total that allowed them to finish just off the top half of the table last season.

Still, with more money than ever being spent by mid-table teams in the Premier League, there is a distinct danger that Swansea may be being left behind. Without Ayew in the side, their firepower looks significantly less potent than last season, and they may struggle to score enough goals to make a real impact on the league. Relegation is fairly unlikely, but with just one recognised striker and one goal-scoring midfielder, any injuries to Llorente and Sigurdsson could be very costly indeed.

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