How do Swansea City expect to progress?
Swansea City has sacked Paul Clement. That is as predictable sentence to write as it is saddening. This is a club that was heralded not only for the style that they played on the pitch but for the stability that they established off it. Not anymore.
They were seen as the model to adopt: A well-run club with assertive but fair ownership under Martin Morgan, chairman Huw Jenkins, and the Swansea Supporters' Trust, meaning that fans have always had a representative on the board, something that is increasingly rare in modern-football; a team that has not required lavish spending, but develops young players and plays attractive football; a series of excellent managers and coaches that have implemented long-lasting techniques, many of which are still evident today, many years after they are gone.
Excluding intermittent caretaker spells at various times, which was usually manned by Alan Curtis, an individual who has been at the club as a player, manager and in a variety of backroom roles since the 1980's, with brief spells away, from 5th April 2004 through to Garry Monk's departure on 9th December 2015, a span of just short of 12 years, Swansea had only six different managers. That is utterly contrasting to the pattern of the times. Francesco Guidolin was hired 40 days later, making a mockery of the decision to sack Monk, on January 18th, 2016. Less than two years later, Swansea have hired and fired another two managers -- Bob Bradley and Clement -- with the former lasting a measly 85 days. Contrast the pedigree of those managers to the likes of Roberto Martinez, Brendan Rodgers and Michael Laudrup, all who have come in within the last decade, and it is easy to see where Swansea have gone wrong.
It is not necessarily in their mistake hirings, although it is difficult to defend Bradley's and Guidolin's -- Clement's is more understandable. It is in the time that they have given these managers. None have been afforded the luxury of it. They haven't been able to recruit the players that they want, something that they have not had the resources to do so anyway, or implement the strategies, the philosophies and the tactics that they want, or instil the culture that they want in every little nook and cranny of the club. And now it's now time to talk about the biggest crux of the club: Money.
(All the following figures are per TransferMarkt)
In the past summer transfer window, Swansea spent £45 million. That does not seem all that stingy, especially given the explosion of prices that took place. Gylfi Sigurdsson, though, was sold for that figure alone. In total, Swansea recouped £73 million, yielding a £28 million profit. Quite how a team that scraped their way to survival last season believes that they can make a near-£30 million profit and stay up the next year is beyond me. It beggars belief. But this is the way that Swansea have always run their business.
The previous season, that being the summer and winter windows in the 2016/17 season, the Swans spent a net £9 million. The year previous, they spent a net £5 million. The year previous, they made an £18 million profit. The year previous, their net spend was £24 million -- that was actually all they spent, given that they recouped no sell on fees. In fact, including this current this season, Swansea have actually amassed a net spend of -£6.10 million. Yes, in the past 10 years, they have actually made a profit. Firstly, that adds credence to the abilities of the management at the club, and not just the manager, but all involved in the club, from the board members right down to the kit man. Secondly, it shows that their plan is unsustainable. Unfortunately, it is not possible, or at least it is extremely difficult, for a team to maintain their Premier League status without spending at least a little. Swansea has spent nothing.
How they expect to progress with the current regime, I do not know. Their relegation is a matter of when not if without significant change, and I doubt that that is coming anytime soon.