For a major chunk during the 2016-17 season of the Premier League, Swansea City appeared to be a side who were supposed to fall into the clutches of relegation. Shambolic results paved the way for extensive managerial changes, but they kept failing as a unit until the former Real Madrid and Bayern Munich manager, in the form of Paul Clement, gave his consent to navigate the Wales-based club towards the right direction.
The Swans carved a late dash in the league and kept hitting the right chords under the tutelage of Clement. Eventually, they mustered a 15th place in the league table and successfully maintained their status of being a Premier League outfit. Having tasted the fear of relegation from an arm’s length, it goes without saying that they would have to come back much stronger this season and would need adequate personnel to do the same.
Swansea City used play eye-catching football not so long ago and were deemed as a cornerstone side for the newcomers to the top-flight. Their way of plying their trade used to be inspiring and appealing as they lacked the element of fear.
They have, however, not gone close to the flashy football they played under Rodgers and Laudrup and would be keen to improve their outputs and to do so, they cannot afford to be complacent. One of their major drawbacks last season was the lack of resilience offered by their defenders, and Clement has managed to find a solution to that in the transfer market.
Swansea City have made Kyle Bartley sign a new long-term contract which would keep him at Liberty Stadium until 2021. Bartley accumulated a spectacular season under his belt in the 2016-17 Championship campaign after he was shipped out on loan to Leeds United.
Although the West Yorkshire based club failed to get a top-six finish, Bartley emerged as one of their silver linings and his contract extension is the testament to the faith Clement has on him now.
The 26-year-old formed a resolute partnership with Pontus Jansson at the heart of the defence of the Whites and piled 45 appearances in the second tier, whilst which he made 1.3 tackles, 1.6 interceptions, 7.6 clearances and 1.6 blocks per game on an average.
Clement already has Alfie Mawson, Federico Fernandez and Mike van der Hoorn in his ranks to fill his central defence, and someone like Bartley will render huge competition for a place in the starting line-up.
Can the former Arsenal defender continue his fine form? Only time will tell.
Statistics Credits: Whoscored