The summer transfer mistake Swansea City cannot afford to repeat

-Credit: (Image: Swansea City)
-Credit: (Image: Swansea City)

All appears quiet at Swansea City at the moment, but plenty of work has already gone into summer transfer window.

After finding himself in the middle of the crosshairs of criticism from supporters, sporting director Paul Watson might well feel he's under greater pressure to deliver a recruitment drive that yields tangible success. What success actually looks like will vary in the eyes of many Swans fans, but not flirting with the Championship's trapdoor would certainly be a good start.

The circumstances around this window are a little different, however. For one, they don't have to bed in a new manager. The vision under Luke Williams is surely crystal clear to everyone following what was a genuinely encouraging end to last season.

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Additionally, Watson's overhaul of scouting and data analysis has made significant strides heading into the next few weeks, with data the central principle to drawing up targets.

Martin Hodge is the head of this new-look recruitment department, which was barely even in its infancy this time last year. Back in March, Watson revealed the club had also ramped up the number of scouts employed from one to six, adding two data scientists – both are an attempt to aid their data-led transfer strategy.

The progress behind the scenes will come as a source of real optimism. However, it will also bring about its own level of pressure. Now, there's no excuse.

Watson has also previously expressed an eagerness to move the club away from their recent reliance on loans, stating that permanent deals are now at the forefront of their thinking this summer, perhaps aware of the hole that departing loanees have left in this squad. This summer alone, six players have gone back to parent clubs after last term.

That said, the Swans are unlikely to miss many of them.

Carl Rushworth was clearly a roaring success, emerging as arguably one of the best goalkeepers in the league last season. Getting him back would be huge for Williams ahead of next season. There's perhaps a similar case to be made for Jamal Lowe being a success too, although some might feel there's better value to be had in the market.

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However, the rest are unlikely to be pined after this summer. Bashir Humphreys, highly rated by Mauricio Pochettino, never recovered after a loss of form. Harrison Ashby's bid to usurp Josh Key was constantly hampered by injury, and Charlie Patino clearly never quite offered what Williams was looking for from an attacking midfielder. Charles Sagoe Junior, meanwhile, was seemingly deemed not to be good enough.

For many, the blame will fall at the feet of Watson, although in fairness it's not entirely reasonably to expect him to legislate for so many highly rated Premier League youngsters not working out. It's easy to make judgements with the benefit of hindsight, but there weren't exactly scores of complaints when these signings were confirmed.

Even so, the end result remains the most important thing. It's what Watson and his ilk live and die by.

Not relying on loans is an admirable approach, but given the nature of Swansea's finances, it will clearly still be a central part of their recruitment strategy heading into the summer. A success rate of one, at most two, isn't going to cut it again.