Ljajic has all the same skills as Viera but is nearly 6'0" and only 26 years old. He's been excellent this season (3 goals / 5 assists / 2.5 key passes / 1.7 dribbles / 2.5 shots) and would be exactly what we need. As for him not coming here, spend the £18m and £100k a week allotted for Ayew, and he'd be looking for the next flight to Wales.
- dribbler - first touch - technique with both feet - pace - on the turn - link up play - passes through/over the backline - shot from distance - crosser - set piece specialist
Rennes are one of the best incubators of talent in all of world football and it would be advantageous for us, in so many ways, to establish some sort of connection.
Beaurigead would be a good start. Can't see him costing more than £10m, if that, and would give us a lot of what we're missing. He is about as close to a clone of Siggy, football-wise, as I have seen:
- first touch, one-touch passing, and technique are consistently impressive - link-up play, crossing, and long passing are exceptional - wicked shot from distance and good finisher - excellent footballing brain, always in the right spot, always makes the right pass - times his runs into the box well - phenomenal on set pieces - tireless worker in defence and attack - versatile, mostly played wide-right this season but can also excel at attacking and central midfield
We're probably going to end up signing Championship players anyway, so I looked at the stats and some highlights. Based on that, the three guys below are the best players/closest to what we're lacking this season: pace/creativity/vision/end product/finishing/set pieces/work rate/etc.
I don't watch the Championship, so can anyone who does offer more detailed descriptions or offer up an opinion? I did watch Norwich get demolished by Chelsea in the FA Cup, and Maddison was probably their best player. Anyone else?
The image he posted shows an empty road with the following text:
"That we sometimes leave. And not precisely because we want to do it. We must. And do not say it's cowardly. Very brave you have to be. -Defreds-"
Hmmm, interesting. Even stranger, Viera and teammate David Simon posed like Neymar/Pique with the same infamous "se queda" (he stays) caption later that day. Pique has come out and said that he knew Neymar was leaving when he posted that. I wonder if that's happening here? This is teammate Bigas' take on it (from the second link):
"Jony looks happy, as usual. I think he's had offers but we know what he's like, he is a club man and a house-man, I have not seen anything strange, I see him as always. If it were for me, to stay here all my life."
The third link I provided refers to Viera's summer as a "soap opera" resulting from the "offensive of the Premier", and states that Viera has a "pending summit" with Las Palmas' president over his contract. That seems to have been the case for weeks now, so that is quite interesting too.
Taken altogether, I have no idea what the truth is. We'll all know in a few days, I guess. I hope it ends with Viera holding up our shirt.
"I hope Viera is happy because it will be good for Las Palmas"
Roque Mesa, Swansea City player reviews his first weeks in the Premier League with the Welsh club
- First Days in the Premier: "I come from a totally different place. Everything has an adaptation process and we are in that process. The coach wanted me to make my debut at home and in this case against Manchester United. He talked to me and I understood perfectly. I felt comfortable but I must know more about the league. "
- Help from Paul Clement, his coach "From the moment I arrived, he wanted me to join the team. He knows that it is a different process and that it takes time. He has tried to advise me with Makelele to help me a lot in that sense. They take care of me so that I can do things well and adapt to life."
- The debut against Manchester United "It was special. Not so much for the result, but it was special because I debuted, at home and before one of the biggest in the world like Manchester United. After the debut I was at home and analyzed and thought about everything that had happened to arrive at that moment. I'm pig-headed and a perfectionist, and it's clear that I'm not 100% adapted yet."
- Adapting to your new life "When you play football, life is more or less the same thing. Schedules and understanding life is different; Have dinner before, sleep before... In terms of language we are also on it, I have an English teacher. The city is very quiet, with a fishing port and it's truly very calm. However, we are in August and it seems we are in December because it does not stop raining (laughs)."
- Difference with La Liga "In Spain football is more leisurely, you combine more. Here since you have the opportunity to go forward they don't think about it. The referees are also more lenient because they do not whistle any type of foul and give continuity to the game. It is attractive to the viewer because they see round-and-round matches."
- Message for the yellow fans "From here I will keep up with UD Las Palmas, that is my team. I wish you the best. I hope Jonathan Viera is happy because that will be good for the Gran Canaria and for the UD. Surely, what with work and doing things as they are everything will work out."
I watched these interviews of Clucas from last season, and I have to say I like the signing a lot more now. Genuinely funny, charming, insightful guy and will be a pleasant addition to the training ground, I'm sure. He articulately explains his story, his postional changes throughout his career, and how his game translates well to the PL.
I legitimately felt a little relief after I watched these, anyone else worried about the fee should take a peak. Also, there are some brief highlights of him from the lower-leagues mixed in for those interested. Pricetag is outrageous, but c'est la vie at this point. He didn't negotiate the fee, and he's a Swan now. I'd certainly much rather we spend the money on this guy than Bony. As our record signing? Disappointed. As one of our record signings (as well as Arias) I'm beginning to feel a little better.
I'd like to see him start in place of Fer against Palace, but I'm sure Leroy's goals yesterday kept him in there. But one of the reasons we signed Clucas is that he's ready to go right away, so he shouldn't be on the bench for long. He's also capable of playing on the right despite being left-footed. A midfield of Mesa/Clucas/Carroll is an intriguing and versatile one, with Fer/Ki sprinkled in whenever they're useful. I would imagine we'll see this sooner rather than later.
Yazici supposedly has a number of "unnamed teams" tracking him, as well, and maybe we're one of them. Maybe he's this "coup" we're hearing about on here lately. Watched the past couple Trabzonspor matches specifically to check this kid out, and he's the real deal. Reminds me a lot of a young, more versatile, skilled, and creative Michu. High praise indeed. He has played on the wing, attacking and central midfield, and seems to have the ability to play upfront, in my opinion.
Excellent outside of the boot flicked pass for an assist against Fenerbahce this weekend (what has happened to Van Persie, by the way, he was awful), and played a good game overall. Check out the goal below against Alaves a few weeks ago, and tell me that doesn't conjure glorious Michu Memories. Supposedly available for about £7m and would be a steal, especially compared to what we're paying for Clucas.
If Altman has the Super Lig on his computer, he knows this kid, his stats were ridiculous last season. Unfortunately, it seems like Jenkins is still all-too involved in our decisions, and he likes players we've played against. C'est la vie, our loss is Merseyside's gain, again.
Overall, very poor performance but good result. I think the stats speak for themselves:
Southampton - 28 shots/2 on target/60% possession
Swans - 4 shots/0 on target/40% possession
We clearly missed the quality of Siggy/Llorente in our overall play, and especially in terms of end product. Clement went with his now-trusted diamond with Routledge behind Abraham/Ayew up top, for roughly the opening half-hour.
Southampton attacked relentlessly down the left wing to great success, and then PC switched to his formerly-trusted 451 with Ayew/Routledge out wide. It stopped some of the onslaught, but Southampton missed so many clear chances I can't even remember them all.
(EDIT: PC brought on Bartley, went three at the back to shut up shop, and that was that.)
Overall, though, we got a draw away at Southampton, a good team. Success. That is how PC viewed it, obviously. Maybe we'll have Siggy/Llorente next weekend, and we'll get the win against Man U. Here's hoping. To the players...
West Ham have been the presumed destination for awhile, but I would assume he might be worried about his playing time there, given their signings this summer. This transfer isn't happening for us, realistically, but if it did it would be an excellent signing (on loan).
A creative, dynamic, goal-scoring winger is exactly what we need, and Gabriel checks those boxes and more. Simply put, the kid is quality, albeit a bit arrogant, and could play all across the frontline. His record at Inter might not be the best, but the club was a terrible environment for his first foray outside of Brazil and the league is insanely tactical. He'd fit in much more in the fast-paced intensity of the PL, and he'd get plenty of playing time with us.
This is a no-brainer for me. Please let this happen somehow. The highlights:
- Viera? Yes - Billing? Yes - Wilshere? No - Chadli? No
I've never seen Billing play other than some highlights. £10m seems steep to me for him, but looks a unique talent and plays a position we need cover in. Huddersfield don't want to sell, though, so it's not likely to happen.
Other than that, I agree with pretty much everything in the article. Great job Ben, please come back next summer.
So, in summation that's Stoke, Palace, Boro, and Leeds who want the guy. We should definitely take the hint and offload now, while he's in high demand. This fella from Leeds even does a lot of the groundwork for us, and thinks Stoke is the right choice for Kyle (and probably for us too):
Bartley will be at best a squad player for us, anyway, and we can absolutely find better for less than we'll get for him. I saw £7m floated around earlier this summer, and if that's true he's got to be sold. Seems a nice guy, but like we did with Cork, you have to take the money when it's there.
Hopefully, we can finalize this deal before these clubs look elsewhere. Take the highest offer, even if it's Stoke, and get Kyle's signature ASAP. Then, bring in an experienced, quality CB like Subotić or Badstuber to provide some cover.
Barcelona want £10m, but the PL clubs have supposedly only offered £8m. Everton, Ajax, and Real Sociedad have "enquired" about him, as well. For that price, we should absolutely be looking at this kid, with or without Siggy.
Everything I've said about Patrick Roberts applies to Munir, and he's actually consistently proven himself at the highest level for a few years. Still young (21); great pace and technique; can dribble, shoot, and pass; excellent finisher and footballing brain; good workrate and attitude.
Clement is obviously aware of him, having coached against him with Madrid. If he's not interested, fine, but this kid is quality. He needs time on the pitch, and he'd be in store for plenty if he came to Swansea. He is a goal-scoring winger with a bit of creativity, and that's just what we need in attack. He's also been linked before, too, so ticks all the boxes:
Watched plenty of Celtic last season and I really like this kid, aside from some questionable hairstyle choices. That's excusable with talent, though. Left-footed; good pace and touch; excellent technique and workrate; quality playmaker, dribbler and finisher (11 goals/19 assists). Phenomenal all-around player and exactly what we need on the wing: youth, creativity, and end product.
He also played a full season under Rodgers and looked very comfortable in his system. Would be a great fit for us, and I hope we're in the race behind the scenes. Man City still owe us some money, don't they? And Rodgers could say some nice things about us, maybe? Deal waiting to happen, hopefully Jenkins won't miss this boat.
And of course, an authentic Nirvana scouting report always comes with videos. Some highlights and the Scottish Cup Final against Aberdeen that Roberts starred in recently, AND BRENDAN RODGERS AND SCOTT SINCLAIR!!!:
He has all the best qualities of JJS, but with more talent and minimal drama. Seriously, check out the videos below. Good stuff. Excellent player for us to be linked with, and I really hope we sign him. We still need a quality DM, though. Someone like Vincent Koziello, maybe?
I said this a while ago, but I'd also like to see us try and sign Baker's Vitesse teammate Milot Rashica. He'd probably cost less than £5m (Jenkins specialty), and would give us quality and youth on the wing for a change. The two of them have developed a good relationship on the pitch and I think they could continue that for us. Rashica (4 goals/14 assists) and Baker (15 goals/7 assist) are both extremely creative and productive, and that's what we need right now.
Check out the second video to see them in action together (Baker #34/Rashica #7). Baker's two goals are fantastic, and his link-up play with Rashica for the second is our type of football. Fingers crossed.
Excellent article on what has failed us the past few seasons. As always, the truth is Jenkins' reject bin transfer policy. The January window was a good start in correcting this, but we need more quality within the squad. It's that simple.
We have to start seriously looking for the right players with class and then actually sign them. It's not that difficult if done correctly and it is more cost-effective than blowing wads of money on a lot of cheaper options. Eventually it will catch up to us, and we're lucky it wasn't this season.
Given Clement actually tried something new last week and it worked, what should our formation and gameplan be against Man U? Should we revert back to the 4141/451 bunkerball used for so long, stick with the 442/4312 from the first half against Stoke, or go with a 3-man backline like the second half?
We were very aggressive in defence and attack right from the beginning against Stoke and it produced a goal, much like the game against Spurs. We then mostly sat back and attempted to protect that slim lead in both games. It backfired massively against Spurs, and could've with a little more focus from Arnautovic. While the bunkerball works better against big clubs, it just wasn't effective anymore and the diamond produced some good attacking play. There were several instances against Stoke where it morphed into 433 with Siggy operating at CF and Llorente and Ayew flanking him out wide, and it looked surprisingly good. They mostly stuck to their positions but there was some movement between the three that appeared to have a lot of potential.
Either way, it was an interesting decision from PC that had mostly positive results. While it isn't my cup of tea, it utilizes the skills and strengths of our best attackers, and still keeps us tight and compact through the middle because of Siggy's workrate. He and Ayew are being played in their best positions, and Llorente was surprisingly spry before being taken off.
Leon was superb at the base of the midfield, but Carroll and Fer/Ki have to stay closer to him when attempting to stop counterattacks, and in general. He was isolated far too often due to poor positioning or failure to track back on their part. Stoke had the Crouch and Berahino Comedy Hour trying to score but Man U are in a different stratosphere, even without Zlatan. If they play Martial/Mkhitaryan/Rashford together again, our backline is ffukkedd. Nobody, except maybe Olsson, can come close for pace with those three and they all float around a lot.
It will be interesting to see if PC has the defence sit back the whole match or if they try and play the offside trap some, a very risky proposition. Fede, in particular, will need to cut out the crazy lunges he's known for, Alfie will have to watch his positioning closely, and fingers crossed on Naughton. Forcing them out wide works in our favor because they will lack an aerial presence, but it will continue to add pressure as they attack over and over. Hopefully we can catch them out once or twice and nick an early goal, and they close up shop saving energy for the Europa League. I would like to see us take it to them quite a bit, but I doubt PC will do so.