The Swans links with players from Arsenal, Manchester City and Brighton & Hove Albion may or may not all come off in the January transfer window but if they did the spine of the team would look very different come the closure of that window with the players concerned.
Over the past week we have reported of interest in Arsenal’s Folarin Balogun, City’s James McAtee and defender Haydon Roberts – all of them on loan moves but the likelihood is we will not get all three although if we did the strength of the Swans side would look considerably different.
Yesterday’s defeat at Middlesbrough highlighted the weaknesses in the overall Swans squad with Russell Martin regretting missed chances up front and, for the second game running, the midfield did not control the game as he likes to see happen and this exploits the weaknesses in our defence.
In depth, the squad is definitely lacking and when you look at our options on the bench you realise that they are few and far between which will tell you the exact reason that when Plan A doesn’t work, Plan B is very difficult to execute.
People can point the finger at the lack of game time for the likes of Fulton and Whittaker but the reality is these players fall into a similar category to those we are selecting and we need better. That, of course, does not take away the argument that they have not been given their chances but are they the long term solution? No, and hand on heart we all know that.
Balogun, McAtee and Roberts are all Premier League players in waiting. Their clubs are keen for all to experience first team football and Swansea is as good a place as any for them to experience that. It will not have gone unnoticed the performances of Ethan Laird this season nor those of Marc Guehi, Rhian Brewster and others before him. Of course it doesn’t always work but clubs will be aware of the Swans ability to progress players careers and that will stand us in good stead should the opportunity to seal these loans arse.
The players may be young but for the second half of the season they could be the spine of our team. Balogun is a natural goalscorer – for all of Paterson and Piroe’s heroics this season both look like they need some level of a rest and it’s not right to put the pressure continuously on their shoulders. Obafemi looks like a transfer decision that doesn’t work and Whittaker we know is off in January. We need cover, Balogun would do that and – there is little doubt – would score goals at this level.
McAtee is a class act. Destined for great things in his career. Highly rated by Manchester City he would add the creative spark to our midfield. Our midfield has been packed with players of similar style for too long. Ntcham adds creativity that is often missing but we need more and McAtee would be that – and probably more. Put him in the middle and allow him to dictate the play around him, goal chances would go up, I am certain of that.
And finally there is Roberts. As Graham Potter said “He is very strong, very quick, very mobile. Powerful. Good with the ball, brings it out well,” – if that isn’t a Russell Martin player then I don’t know what is. Put Roberts and Cabango at the back and add in the experience of Naughton and you have a much more solid looking back 3.
It is unlikely that we will sign all three of these players but if this is the kind of level we are looking at – no disrespect to any of the players linked from MK Dons – we move up a level both in terms of squad depth but also, for me, in terms of play.
The sheer fact that all three players are so highly rated by their clubs mean that there will be not shortage of willing parties should they be made available on loan. McAtee we know has interest from at least a dozen clubs already – home and abroad whilst Balogun is linked with at least three more Championship clubs as is Roberts.
We know as well though we have close links with both Brighton and Manchester City and will be looking to utilise those links to try and bring us into pole position.
As ever, the discussion and potentials regards the January transfer window start here, there will be many more over the next 8 weeks, keep your eyes peeled.
Why not contribute to our January transfer window thread with your own thoughts here