The Swans are aiming high after their trophy-winning 2012/13 term...
After a top-half finish last season, Swansea have set themselves a pretty high bar, haven’t they? True enough – it’s been a story of lofty ambition in the past decade. As recently as 2005 the Welsh club was in the fourth tier, but now they have designs on competing with the big boys in the league.
And they’ve got a Europa League campaign to look forward to as well… Newcastle United might debate the positives of that after their experiences last term, but a first European campaign since the early 1980s is a sure measure of the Jacks’ progress. It means an early start to the season, though, having already navigated the third qualifying round.
Have they strengthened their set-up accordingly? They have – right across the team. Striker Wilfried Bony arrives for a club record £12.5m from Vitesse Arnhem, while midfield hothead Jonjo Shelvey moves over from Liverpool and young defender Jordi Amat could be another of Michael Laudrup’s Spanish bargains at £2.5m from Espanyol.
And we’ll get an early look at the reshuffled line-up… Yep, we’ve got ’em first up at the Liberty Stadium on 17 August.
So, what’s the verdict? Probably top-half again, but they’ll need to manage the squad well in the next few months across league, Europe and in defence of the Capital One Cup.
Who’s their main man then? Michu. Without doubt the best-value buy of last summer, the deep-lying forward scored a hatful of goals – 22 in all competitions – after his £2m move from Rayo Vallecano.
Any interesting stats or figures? The number of years the Reds took to log a win at Swansea. Chicharito’s November 2011 winner stopped the rot after we’d failed to win in eight goes at the Vetch Field from 1932 onwards.