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Whoscored: Pleasant early Prem surprises

Southampton 4 days ago
Read
 Posted by Max Hicks
Sep 3, 2014

How did Swansea do in the window?

Ins and Outs

Players in: Lukasz Fabianski (Arsenal, free), Bafetimbi Gomis (Lyon, undisclosed), Stephen Kingsley (Falkirk, undisclosed), Marvin Emnes (Middlesbrough, £1.5m), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Tottenham, undisclosed), Jefferson Montero (Morelia, undisclosed), Giancarlo Gallifuoco (unattached), Federico Fernandez (Napoli, undisclosed), Modou Barrow (Ostersunds, undisclosed)

Players out: Michu (Napoli, loan), Leroy Lita, Jernade Meade, David N'gog and Darnel Situ (all released), Ben Davies and Michel Vorm (Tottenham, undisclosed), Alejandro Pozuelo (Rayo Vallecano, undisclosed), Chico Flores (Lekhwiya, undisclosed), Jose Canas (Espanyol, released)

Summing up the window

Swansea manager Garry Monk clearly had a plan heading into this summer. Charged with halting the erosion of standards chairman Huw Jenkins felt he had seen under former boss Michael Laudrup, Monk evidently decided the best place to start was the squad sheet. Monk used the long summer window to gut the squad of many of Laudrup's signings, with six of the Swans' core of Spanish players being shown the door. In their place, Monk has brought in quality from across the globe, using the free-agent market to add two significant pieces in Fabianski and Gomis for no fee. Monk has been looking for one of two things in his signings this summer -- quality or potential. The majority of his first-team additions boast international pedigree, whilst Monk has also been adding to his development squad in earnest, with a number of high-potential prospects brought in with an eye on future first-team inclusion. Monk also wanted to add a full-back and a winger to the first team, but was unable to do either. That shouldn't hurt the Swans too much, but the extra depth would have been useful. 8/10

Best piece of business?

Gylfi Sigurdsson cost a lot, having been part of a swap deal involving Ben Davies, Michel Vorm and a small amount of cash. It was a deal well worth making. The playmaker has been central to all of Swansea's early-season success, having had a part to play in literally every goal the team has scored over its first three matches. Sigurdsson is exactly what the Swans' attacking unit needed to bring together all the loose pieces and realise its potential. With Fabianski brought in on a free to replace Vorm (adding height into the bargain) and Neil Taylor already able to cover for Davies, it is hard to imagine a better bit of business.

Worst piece of business?

There hasn't been much wrong with Monk's transfer business this summer, but perhaps the Michu situation could have been better dealt with. This time last year, the Spaniard was linked with potential 20 million pound offers from bigger sides; this summer he was allowed to leave on a season-long loan with an option to buy for a comparatively paltry 8 million pounds. Of course, last summer Swansea probably didn't anticipate the injuries which would more or less write off the season for Michu, and those injuries are doubtless part of the reason the attacking midfielder's stock had dropped so much.

Gylfi Sigurdsson has been a wonderful signing.

What remaining issues are there?

Not only has Monk failed to bring in a defensive midfielder, he doesn't seem to think his side needs one. As it stands, the Swansea midfield is awash with playmakers, either deep-lying or advanced, players who can pass and create, but precious few who can tackle or intimidate. The Swans' soft early-season schedule might have led to a false sense of confidence. Three wins from three is hard to argue with, but the fact is Swansea have yet to encounter a really strong attacking unit this season. Chelsea are the first team on the slate following the close of the window -- Monk might start to reconsider his faith in a menace-free midfield if Jose Mourinho's men are even half awake. The lack of depth at full-back isn't ideal, either.

Who can help in January?

Benjamin Stambouli should have been the player to help in this window, never mind January. However, since Spurs were in the frame for Stambouli's services then it is understandable the Frenchman chose the bigger side. That's a shame, because it means the ex-Montpellier destroyer won't be there come January if Monk decides that tackling still has a place in the modern game after all.

Javi Fuego of Valencia would be a good alternative. The Spanish defensive mid frequently posts among the highest figures for tackles and interceptions per game in all of Europe, he can pass accurately and he'll only have a year left on his contract at the end of this season. Having never played in the Premier League, he might appreciate the opportunity. At full-back, another run at Kyle Naughton wouldn't be a bad idea, since the Spurs defender can cover left and right.

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