It can be safely said that among all the Premier League clubs that opted for a managerial change at the start of the year following a nightmarish first half of the season, Swansea City’s Paul Clement has had the toughest of the tasks but he has succeeded in sailing the club to safety through miraculous feats.
While Sam Allardyce had enough funds to bring in all necessary reinforcements in January itself and get his club back to stronger positions, Craig Shakespeare succeeded Claudio Ranieri with a fully known team in Leicester City. His achievement, though commendable, was not as tough a task as Clement had.
The South Wales side brought in the former Bayern Munich and Real Madrid assistant manager with the hope to help them survive the relegation, and the English manager has not only done that but has also instilled the lost conviction in them. The 45-year-old wasn’t acquainted with the players well and neither did he have a huge transfer chest in the winter to replace the weak links.
And Clement now believes, his good managerial skills will be enough to convince the team’s star players Fernando Llorente and Gylfi Sigurdsson to extend their stay at the club. Revealing his summer transfer plans, Clement said to media, “You always want to keep your best players and they’ve been excellent all season… We’re going to have those discussions… myself, the chairman Huw Jenkins and our two main owners, Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien.”
He continued, “… hopefully, they have enjoyed being part of what we’ve done in the second half of the season… Hopefully, they realize that we’re a good club, they’ve got good teammates and they really want to stay here as well.”
Both the players have been crucial to Swansea City’s revival this season. While the centre-forward has scored an impressive 14 league goals in 32 appearances, Sigurdsson has taken it a step further by scoring 11 goals and providing 13 assists. Having experience with top clubs like Juventus and Sevilla, Llorente was a huge acquisition for Swansea and although he took some time to adapt to the new league, he has been brilliant of late.
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte was desperate to bring in Llorente last winter as they were short of a centre-forward, but Swansea did well to hold on to him. Sigurdsson was more of a late bloomer this season, and Everton are very interested in the Icelandic international coming summer.
Swansea City managed to stay in the Premier League for the straight seventh season now and the duo has played a massive role in it. Securing their services will be the most important target for Clement and company as the season ends.