Star player’s protracted move to Everton leaves a gap in the Swans’ struggling squad and supporters are losing patience with their new American owners
18 August ~ It was not the ideal pre-season for Swansea City, dominated by uncertainty on and off the pitch. On it the potential transfer of star player Gylfi Sigurdsson to Everton and off it the potential legal action from the Supporters’ Trust due to their exclusion from the sale of the club to new American owners last year.
Against this backdrop Swansea gained an excellent point at Southampton last weekend. However the result was far better than the toothless performance, where they rarely threatened apart from a couple of chances for Tammy Abraham, signed on a season-long loan from Chelsea. Even allowing for the absence due to injury of Fernando Llorente and Ki Sung-yueng, based on the standard of that performance and the lack of player quality, it seems difficult to see anything but another season of struggle ahead.
The sale of your best player is not normally a cause for optimism, especially one who can guarantee you double figures for both goals and assists over a season. Sigurdsson was key to last season’s survival and swept the board at the clubs’ end-of-season awards dinner.
However, the conclusion earlier this week of the drawn-out transfer saga does at least remove the ongoing uncertainty and should provide much-needed funds for team strengthening. This was followed the day after by the results of the Supporters’ Trust members’ ballot which rejected the option of legal action, choosing instead to agree to a sale of some of their shares to the new owners.
This is not the happy Swansea City of a few short years ago. Two seasons of struggle on the pitch would be acceptable given that we are continuing to survive in the Premier League but the loss of our playing style, together with the controversial sale of the club and subsequent marginalisation of the Supporters’ Trust by the previous locally based board, have left a sour taste. Let down by the board and now by our best player, patience is wearing thin and it is essential that the club spend some of the Sigurdsson money wisely.
Nacer Chadli, Wilfried Bony and Joe Allen have all been linked but only the latter would be welcomed unconditionally and he is the least likely to join. It is hoped that manager Paul Clement will be able to use his experience and connections to bring in good value signings in an increasingly difficult marketplace. There seems little indication of this however and the protracted nature of Sigurdsson’s transfer means that time is running out. Any new signings will obviously be too late for the home game against Manchester United and another hard-earned, backs to the wall, point is probably the best that we can hope for. Paul Ashley-Jones