Swansea can get their identity back under Paul Clement

Mike Holden by Mike Holden / 09 August 2017, 11:01

Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) looks at what we can expect from Paul Clement and Swansea during the 2017/18 Premier League season.

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Background

After a decade following a consistent philosophy, Swansea lost some of their identity last summer when the club was sold to American investors without the supporters trust being consulted. What followed was a shambles. Francesco Guidolin was on a hiding to nothing, then Bob Bradley was out of his depth and the Jacks were bottom on a paltry 12 points after 19 games. Paul Clement arrived and pride was restored when some cute tactical tweaks produced nine wins. Much now rests on the future of pivotal playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Personality

Precision sums up Clement, from the way he speaks to the way he organises his teams. His words are simple but concise, and the message is always crystal clear. He’s an introvert, so there’s a lot that goes on in his head, but he de-clutters that information before presenting it to his players. They only get to hear the conclusions, the important stuff that really matters. It’s a skill that enables him to cover a lot of tactical ground in a short space of time.

Quote

"To get 29 points over half a season is a pretty good tally. If you can replicate that over a whole season, then you’re going to have a total that puts you around eighth. The next step is to continue building the identity of the club, and to play the sort of football we want to here. And then we have to make sure we’re not in the same situation we found ourselves in last season – fighting relegation right up until the penultimate game."

Verdict

A midfield diamond was instrumental to Swansea’s survival last term with the incisive Sigurdsson operating at the tip. That system probably wouldn’t be as effective without him, so a big-money move for the Icelander before the end of August might be unsettling and would surely prompt a tactical rethink. However, Clement is highly adaptable and can legislate for most headaches, so you’d back the Jacks to enjoy a much more serene campaign this time around, without quite sustaining the high standards set in 2017 to date.

Prediction: 14th

Paul Clement

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