With the transfer window now officially shut and league football put on hold until the international break is out of the way, I thought that now would be as good a time as any to look at where the squad stands and what options are available. Part 1 of the article looks at outgoing players while Part 2 of the article will look at incoming players and deliver a verdict of our transfer business.
Sigurdsson to Llorente was, perhaps unsurprisingly, the most common assist maker to goal scorer partnership in the Premier League. Both players were big characters in the dressing room and capable of individual brilliance and the role they played in our great escape last season cannot be understated. The statistics prove as much: Llorente and Sigurdsson either scored or assisted a combined 40 of our 45 goals last season, or just under 90%. That a club has to burden two players with so much of the creative and goal scoring slack is unsustainable and, with both leaving for pastures new, Clement has the opportunity to implement a system which will aim to spread the burden across the team rather than a couple of individuals. According to reports, we can expect between £57m and £60m (incl. add-ons) from the sale of these two players.
After receiving a very generous offer of £10m (incl. add-ons) from Burnley for defensive midfielder Jack Cork, it was decided that a move would be in the best interests of all parties. In his time here Cork enjoyed plenty of game time under each manager that managed him, yet he never seemed a natural fit for Swansea. Cork always delivered impressive defensive statistics but simply lacked the mobility and technical qualities of Leon Britton, the player he was originally brought in to replace. If last season's final run of games where we picked up 13 points from five games proved anything, it was that Swansea is a far better side when it has a DLP/regista than a defensive midfielder. That Cork's move was used to fund the Roque Mesa transfer (more on him in Part 2) can only be seen as great business.
Of our outgoings, the one I am most disappointed by (barring Llorente and Sigurdsson, of course) is Stephen Kingsley. Kingsley was first brought in under Monk over three years ago as a 19-year-old, but didn't make his Premier League debut until a 1 – 2 away win at Arsenal in March 2016. It was under Guidolin where Kingsley really came into his own, ending that season with a string of impressive performances. In particular, his performance away at West Ham where he put in a superb cross for Andre Ayew's goal showed what we had been missing at left back for so long. Unfortunately, his performances (as was the case with everyone else) dipped at the start of last season and once more when Bob Bradley came in. With Olsson making the January switch, Kingsley's chances of cementing a first team spot were over and the lure of regular football with Hull proved too great. Alas, I will always respect Kingsley for how he conducted himself and for reminding the club of the attacking potential a good left back can bring. I have read that the fee we received for Kingsley was around £3m which represents good value as far as Hull are concerned. A shame, even more so after failing to land extra full back/wing back cover, but the blow was definitely softened by Sam Clucas coming the other way (more on him in Part 2).
There were also plenty of minor outgoings over the course of the window. Emnes, Birighitti and Tabanou were released while Tremmel retired as a player to work as part of the scouting operations. Youngsters McBurnie, Botti Biabi, Connor Roberts and Matt Grimes were sent out on loan to gain valuable first team experience at crucial stages in their careers. Gomis made the £2.5m switch to Galatasaray following a loan stint with Marseille, a player not likely to be missed due to the disparity between his ego on-field ability. Modou Barrow made the switch to Reading for £1.5m plus add-ons, a player who had shown “potential” for several years but just wasn't able to improve enough tactically or technically to suggest he was Premier League ready. Jordi Amat was given the opportunity to fill the shoes left by Ashley Williams last season but failed to convince at any point and has now gone on loan to Real Betis. Fellow Spainiard Borja Baston also endured a torrid time in Wales. After arriving injured and signing for a club record fee of over £15m, Baston struggled for game time. He only managed to score one goal and failed spectacularly at displacing Llorente, the player who was supposed to deputise for Baston in the first place. Finally, Jefferson Montero made the deadline day move on loan to Getafe after failing to feature in any of the opening three match-day squads this season.
Overall, it's been a very busy transfer window from an outgoing point of view. Top earners have been removed from the wage bill either through permanent moves at massive profits (Llorente and Sigurdsson) or through loans (Baston). Squad players who featured last season but weren't likely to command starting spots this season (Cork and Kingsley) have been sold for large profits. Players that may still have a future here but weren't going to feature this season (Amat, McBurnie and Montero) have been loaned out to gain regular playing time. Finally, a whole host of deadwood (Birighitti, Emnes, Gomis and Tabanou) have either been released or sold. I think that the club can be pleased with making such large profits and trimming what was a dangerously high wage bill. With the club likely to receive between £70m and £75m in transfer fees, I'd call that good business. Of course, that also depends on what players have been brought in as replacements, which we will look at in Part 2 of the article.