Bob Bradley sacked but Swansea City’s problems go deeper

Liberty Stadium, Swansea

That didn’t go well, did it? After all the controversy that greeted his appointment (though an experienced former international manager joining the Premier League really didn’t need to generate so many outraged column inches), Bob Bradley departs Swansea City after just 11 games and 85 days at the helm.

The American oversaw just 8 points in those 11 games. Under him, the club slumped from 17th position to 19th, four points adrift of safety. Clearly, Bradley must shoulder plenty of blame for failing to arrest Swansea’s slide. But make no mistake – the slide has been going on since before his ill-fated tenure.

He can’t be blamed for the club’s long-standing failure to replace the goals of Wilfried Bony. The Ivorian spent one-and-a-half seasons at Swansea, scoring 35 goals in 70 games. Would-be replacements like Bafetembi Gomis, Alberto Paloschi, Fernando Llorente and Borja Baston have struggled to get anywhere near that goal tally (even combined).

Nor was it Bradley’s decision to sell long serving club captain Ashley Williams to Everton without acquiring an adequate replacement. While Alfie Mawson (22, signed from Barnsley) and Mike Van Der Hoorn (24, signed from Ajax) may become excellent players in time, the duo signed for a fraction of the Williams fee are not like-for-like replacements for a colossus like the Welshman.

His colleagues miss his organisational skills at the back. You only have to look at the stats. 41 goals conceded in 18 games tells its own story. Although, that said, Bradley must take responsibility for failing to insert even a modicum of defensive steel. Under his watch the defence became even more shambolic; he oversaw a defence that conceded three or more goals eight time with him on the sidelines.

The truth of the matter is that Swansea have been on the slide since Garry Monk‘s tenure ended. Neither Alan Curtis nor Francesco Guidolin had the air of a long term fix (though the latter did keep the club in the league). Bradley didn’t stick around for long either. And now the club are again casting around for a new boss, with apparently no specific name in mind.

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The failure to adequately replace their captain and their main goal threat, the over-reliance on a mix of the unproven (Mawson, Van Der Hoorn, Stephen Kingsley, Modou Barrow) and the over-the-hill (Llorente, Leon Britton, Angel Rangel) points in only one direction.

Bob Bradley departs with many a pundit muttering “I told you so”. In the coming days we will doubtless hear the calls for Ryan Giggs to be installed as the club’s new saviour (he’s Welsh, you know). But the new American decision makers at Swansea will have to take a look at more than just the identity of the man in the dugout.

For Swansea to survive and thrive in the long term it requires serious investment. With the squad they have right now, even the most optimistic of managers would not back themselves to lead Swansea to survival.

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Main image credit: Alexander Ridler via Flickr

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