Thursday, 24 April 2014

Eye-spy! Paul Lambert spotted at Swansea training session!

Boss of this weekend's opponents Aston Villa clearly felt it would be worth his while to see what we were up to...



It seems we've had a few spies in our ranks! God knows what Paul Lambert thought he'd learn by watching us in our open training session that he didn't already know, but I do understand the thought process behind him rocking up yesterday - though I doubt he reserved a ticket in his own name (as the club requested anyone wanting to be in attendance to do). Possibly a little obvious.

That being said, it must have been fairly hard to stay inconspicuous when you're as known as Lambert is to Swansea fans, especially when you're accompanied by two Aston Villa coaches! There's a photo of the Villa boss on the Planet Swans forum with (I assume) the user's daughter [link], so Lambert was clearly confident enough to make himself known and pose for photos!

He's evidently doing his groundwork ahead of this weekend's clash - though whether it'll bear fruit remains to be seen. With Benteke missing I'm (as usual) confident of a positive result for the Swans, and with Aston Villa only scoring seven goals in the eight games their powerful forward has missed it could be they once again find themselves lacking up top. Jordi Amat will continue to deputise for Chico, though Kyle Bartley's arrival in injury time against Newcastle does lend itself to the possibility that he'll be preferred to the young Spaniard, so we can't guarantee who'll be present in our back four just yet.

Whoever is selected, they most certainly can't take it easy just because the big Belgian is out injured. Agbonlahor has pace to burn, and up against Angel Rangel he could well get quite a bit of joy. We need to be wary of that, and if De Guzman starts at right wing again he needs to track back and help out Rangel more, as until Routledge went to that side last week we were looking very exposed down our right flank. It's even possible Dyer will be selected ahead of the Dutchman for this very reason, but I'll leave this kind of talk for the preview, which will be up later tonight/early tomorrow.

Until then!

Podcast: The JackCast EP13: Swansea Villains: Holt & Lambert return

The JackCast trio discuss all this week's goings on


It's nice when we get to talk about a win eh? This week, Matt is audibly excited to talk favourably about "Martin" Emnes as we review the Newcastle win, and we're joined by Cole from Talk Aston Villa as we preview this weekend's matchup between Swansea and Aston Villa. We talk about Villa's dangermen, how Grant Holt and Paul Lambert seem to have this knack of doing well against us, and discuss this week's Twitter question: What's your favourite late Swansea City goal of all time? There were some excellent responses this week!



Thanks for listening, subscribing and sharing the podcast, which has been great fun so far! Hopefully we'll be going for a long time yet, and who knows where it'll end up leading!

Finger's crossed this being the 13th installment of The JackCast isn't an omen of bad luck ahead of this weekend. Maybe we should have just skipped to no14 and retired it's predecessor...

Swansea to go for Nick Powell & Iago Aspas?

Monk may be “Head of the Swansea Church” next season but who will be his disciples?


The Swansea Way has once again spread it's arms in search of quality content, and our new Executive Correspondent from our London office (which may or may not exist) Andrew McGlashan makes his debut by having a look at some comings and goings which could go on this summer

One thing is certain when it comes to Swansea City: you are guaranteed an entertaining season one way or the other. Fresh off a ten season stretch which has seen the Swans rise through the leagues, topped off with last year’s League Cup triumph, this season has brought a European adventure, the first managerial sacking in nearly ten years and an unwelcome relegation battle. 

Although safety is not yet mathematically guaranteed, Swansea look set to be playing Premiership football next year having reached the last 32 of the Europa Cup. On paper this would look like a successful season. However, the surprise departure of Michael Laudrup, a series of reports of training ground brawls (with and without bricks) and half time crisp eating means that this summer is likely to hold a major reshuffle down at the Liberty. 

So far the majority of the paper talk has been on who the next manager will be but there is also likely to be a significant turnover in the playing staff. I’ve outlined below some potential coming and goings that Swansea fans could see this summer:

Outgoings

1. Michu

It is fair to say that this time last year any Swansea fan would have laughed at any offer under £20 million for the goal scoring midfielder. However, following an inconsistent season, a series of ankle injuries and only six goals this term, Michu’s value has dropped considerably. Michu’s admiration of Laudrup is also well documented and it would not be surprising if Michu wanted out following Laudrup’s unsavoury departure. His absence from the first team squad recently has even led some fans to believe that Michu may well have played his last game in a Swansea shirt.

One thing is for sure, the camera shy Spaniard, unlike Laudrup, will not be holding a press conference at Heathrow to discuss the matter. 

Potential sale price - £8m

2. Chico Flores

Last summer Swansea fans were keeping their fingers crossed that their new cult hero would not be tempted into a summer move away. This was in response to reported interest from, amongst others, Pep Guardiola and Bayern Munich – although such a move did always seem unlikely. Twelve months on and Chico has produced a number of erratic displays which has cost Swansea badly at times. His red cards against Crystal Palace and, following two minutes of madness, Chelsea still live strong in the memory of the Jack Army. This is of course in addition to his well reported bust up with current boss Garry Monk. Although both sides have played this spat down, don’t be surprised if Chico and his new George Michael tribute hairstyle “go go” should Monk stay at the helm. 

Potential sale price - £4m 

3. Ashley Williams

The Wales and Swansea captain has been a stalwart of the Swansea defence for several seasons now and each season has been more impressive than the last. Unsurprisingly, several links to Liverpool and Arsenal have been made over the past few summers but no transfer has resulted for the one time theme park and petrol shop worker. Williams is entering into his final year of his contract and, at the age of 29, may know that this is his last chance for a move to one of Europe’s bigger clubs. Reports of interest from Napoli have already surfaced and no Swansea fan could blame their captain for a move to a top European club. It may be that Monk’s final task of his reign, or even his first task as permanent boss, will be to convince his captain to stay in South Wales. 

Potential sale price - £7m 

Incomings 

1. Nick Powell

Following his move to Manchester United in 2012, Powell has failed to make an impact at Old Trafford. The result was that former United boss David Moyes sent Powell on loan to nearby Wigan for the 2013/14 season. Powell has impressed this year in the Championship and has chipped in to Wigan’s promotion push with seven goals. Given that Swansea’s third top goalscorer this season is own goals, and Jonathan De Guzman’s may not return following his season long loan, Powell’s eye for goal would provide a cutting edge to Swansea’s three man midfield. 

Although the managerial position at Old Trafford is anything but certain right now, a season loan to a Premiership team would make sense for the development of this potential future England star. Of course if Wigan are promoted themselves to the promised land, Swansea may face competition from Mr Rösler, who will surely be the first in line to secure Powell’s services for the 2014/15 season. 

Purchase price – loan fee of around £1m

2. Iago Aspas

Wilfried Bony has been a revelation for Swansea this year and the record transfer fee of £12 million paid by the Swansea board now looks like a bargain. Following the surprise signing of David N’Gog and the spectacularly unsuccessful loans of Itay Shechter and Alvaro Vasquez, who will be remembered by Swansea fans for all the wrong reasons, Swansea need another striker to take the pressure off the “Wilf of Wind Street” (although those massive thighs of his seem to be able to handle it). Aspas was signed by Liverpool last summer from what seemed to be the grasp of Swansea. 

However, the Spaniard has failed to hold down a spot in the Liverpool line up following the impressive displays of SAS, Sterling et al. With Fabio Borini due to return to Liverpool from his loan at Sunderland, now could be the time for the Swans to sign the player who scored 37 goals for Celta de Vigo in the two seasons prior to his move to Anfield. 

Purchase price - £7m

3. Ki Sung-Yueng

Although still a Swansea player, Ki’s season long loan at Sunderland this season has meant that his whereabouts next season remain uncertain. The season long move was met with several head scratches at the Liberty as Ki was a constant solid performer in his first season, despite lacking an eye for goal. This confusion amongst fans then turned into discontent as calls for his return were in vain due to a misinterpretation of his call back clause. 

The result has been that Swans fans have watched Ki produce a number of impressive performances despite playing in an inconsistent Sunderland side scrapping for Premiership survival. In particular, his passing success rate of 90.9% is something which the Swansea midfield has greatly missed at times. Ensuring that Ki is securing ball retention for the Swansea midfield next season, whilst also helping Swansea to secure commercial deals in Asia, may well be top of the next permanent manager’s to-do list. 

Purchase price – new three year contract at around £30k a week

You can follow our Executive Correspondent - London Office on Twitter @ajmcglashan