Paul Clements preparations in limbo due to stalemate over Gylfi Sigurdsson and how Swansea perform depends on what happens in transfer window over next three weeks
Guardian novelists predicted position 17 th( NB: this is not necessarily Stuart James prediction but the average of our writers tips-off)
Last seasons position 15 th
Odds to win the league ( via Oddschecker) 1000 -1
Paul Clements annoyance was tangible when the first question asked after Saturdays 4-0 friendly victory over Sampdoria focused on whether there was any update on the future of a player who was nowhere to be seen at the Liberty Stadium. It has been that sort of summer at Swansea, with the Gylfi Sigurdsson saga casting a darknes over pre-season preparations and becoming tiresome for everyone involved, arguably most of all the head coach.
Among the nominees for Premier League director of the year last season after transforming Swanseas lucks, Clement leaves nothing to chance and would have enjoyed the opportunity that his first pre-season provided to spend extended period on the training ground, enforcing his ideas, working on tactics and operating through the style of play for the campaign ahead. That process feelings even more important when the most influential player at the club has made it clear he wants out and a replacing for a critical posture needs to be signed, integrated into the teams route of playing and, depending on their background, given time to adapt to a new speech, league and culture.
The messy and protracted nature of Sigurdssons expected deviation to Everton has done Clement no favours in that respect and means the Swansea manager is set to start the season at Southampton on Saturday not only without the services of last seasons best player, but also with no one ready to step into the boots of a midfielder who has been directly involved in 53 of the 133 Premier League objectives Swansea have scored over the past three years. That is the size of the contribution Swansea “ve tried to” replace if Sigurdsson moves to Goodison Park. The sight of Wayne Routledge being crowbarred into Sigurdssons No1 0 role against Sampdoria laid bare the managers predicament.
Assuming the painfully slow transfer to Everton does eventually run through( the only thing that can be said with certainty about Sigurdsson right now is that all the parties are fed up with how long it has gone on ), Swanseas prospects for the season are likely to depend heavily on how astutely the club reinvest the biggest transfer fee in their history. Clement would be entitled to think every penny should go back into a squad that needs at least one more striker and quality covering in defense, as well as a playmaker to take over from Sigurdsson.
In fairness, the clubs early business in this window was encouraging. Tammy Abraham, signed on a season-long loan from Chelsea, has the pace and motion to stretch teams, devoting Swansea a threat on the counter-attack they lacked last season. The 19 -year-old is unproven at Premier League level but scored prolifically in the Championship for Bristol City last season and if he plays as well as he sings a rendition of a Boyz II Men track during his initiation ceremony was met with gasps of astonishment rather than the usual laugh Swansea will be on to a winner.