With an exodus of centre-forwards at Swansea City and a major reshuffle of attacking options at the Liberty Stadium underway, manager Francesco Guidolin has set-about identifying potential targets to add goals to his forward line in an attempt to relieve the pressure from last season’s leading marksman Andre Ayew.
In order to solve the lack of goals from Swansea’s main strikers, the South Wales club have outed their interest in Leicester City’s 29-year old forward Leonardo Ulloa. What would this forward bring to the club, particularly with regards to filling the void that may be left by the potential departure of Bafetimbi Gomis?
In Ulloa, Guidolin would not only be bringing in a strong hold-up player, but a capable goal-scorer too. He showcased his talent to Swans fans last season with a brace at the Liberty Stadium in Leicester’s comprehensive 4-0 victory on their way to a maiden Premier League title, and through the entirety of his two-year stint with the Foxes, he has found himself amongst the goals at the King Power Stadium.
He notched six times in 2015/16 and a somewhat more prolific 13 goals the season before. This haul was achieved in a struggling Leicester side that pulled off a miraculous great escape in the latter stages of the season under Nigel Pearson, and the importance of Ulloa’s should not be underestimated.
Prior to joining the Foxes, Ulloa also enjoyed a fruitful season at Brighton and Hove Albion, with 23 goals in 50 appearances in the Championship as the Seagulls reached the Play-offs. The Argentine has also proved himself a capable goal-scorer in Spain with La Liga outfit Almeria.
Given Claudio Ranieri’s hesitancy to rotate his squad last season unless forced upon him through injury or suspensions; particularly given the imperious form of Shinji Okazaki, Ulloa found his first-team opportunities increasingly limited under the Italian. Therefore, another opportunity of first-team football may well be enough to lure the Argentine to South Wales, prepared to forgo the lure of Champions League football in search of guaranteed action.
Not only would Ulloa bring goals to Swansea, but Ayew and Sigurdsson would also benefit from the striker’s strength, potency, and performances as a spearhead. For what Ulloa lacks in pace, he makes up for in his hold-up play, making him another ideal option to lead the line. His height would make him an ideal target man for wingers if Guidolin opts to play on the break, and he would provide a much needed physical presence in set–piece situations, both offensively and when defending his own goal.
As a goal-scorer and a presence in the box, he is a reliable, consistent and experienced option in English football and is believed to be available for a fee in the region of £15 million. So, not only would he be a good buy with regards to his return and his off-the-ball impact, but also he would be a budget choice for the Swans and overall a fantastic bargain.
Even if he initially struggled for goals, the support of the wide players at Swansea is a strong alternative goal source and their support and service will benefit Ulloa, particularly in relieving any initial pressure to get off the mark, but also they will be helpful in getting the forward himself firing.
Were Ulloa to find himself at some stage of the season in a back-up role, his ability to come into the side and give his all, as well as scoring crucial goals for Leicester would still be invaluable. This trait was demonstrated by Ulloa’s late winner in a big game against Norwich, and also indicates the striker would have plenty to offer as an impact substitute if necessary.
Ulloa has all the attributes of the ideal forward for Swansea City at present, and Ranieri’s Italian counterpart Francesco Guidolin is undoubtedly being rather wily in attempting to bring this particular forward through the door at the Liberty Stadium. Though Swansea may need to bide their time over the transfer, given Ranieri’s open reluctance to offload any more of his players, with N’Golo Kante already through the exit door and uncertainty hanging over the future of Riyad Mahrez.
Despite a major re-shuffle of attacking options, if Ulloa were to join Swansea, supporters would have every right to be excited and given his experience, hunger for goals, contribution to team-play and his physical presence, he would be a great bet to score goals for what would be in footballing terms a very reasonable price. Not only would it be a good buy on the pitch, but overall, a very clever one too.
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