Swansea City's hopes rest on Spanish shoulders after summer of change

Fernando Llorente
Fernando Llorente has won 22 caps for Spain

It has been a summer of seismic adjustment at Liberty Stadium, with the club receiving a major overhaul on and off the field.

While supporters are used to seeing changes in playing personnel, this campaign feels like a significant step into the unknown with Swansea now in the hands of US owners.

The people's club is now owned by investors, though the supporters' trust has retained a 21.1% stake in the Swans and influential chairman Huw Jenkins remains in the role.

However, dreams that heavy investment from the new owners and increased television revenue would translate into a summer or recruitment have proved unfounded, with Swansea arguably selling as many key players as they have managed to sign.

The failure to 'bring home' former midfielder Joe Allen, will also rankle.

"I suppose we are all a little impatient, I guess even more so as we didn't bring in Joe Allen," coach Alan Curtis admitted after losing out on the Wales midfielder.

"I think there is a lot of frustration, with the supporters, but also with the players and maybe the board themselves."

Swansea transfers summer 2016
In: Mark Birighitti (free agent, free transfer), Leroy Fer (Queens Park Rangers, £4.2 million), Mike van der Hoorn (Ajax, undisclosed), Fernando Llorente (Sevilla, £5 million), Tyler Reid (Manchester United, undisclosed), Borja Baston (Atletico Madrid, £15 million),
Out: Eder (Lille, undisclosed), Bafetimbi Gomis (Marseille, loan), Andre Ayew (West Ham, £20.5 million), Kyle Bartley and Matt Grimes (Leeds, loan), Kenji Gorre (Northampton, loan), Josh Sheehan (Newport County, loan), Ryan Hedges and Liam Shephard (Yeovil, loan), Oliver Davies (Kilmarnock, loan), Frank Tabonou (Saint Etienne, loan), Ashley Williams (Everton, undisclosed), Alberto Paloschi (Atalanta, undisclosed)

Loss of a legend

Ashley Williams
Ashley Williams played over 350 games for Swansea City and helped them to rise through the Football League

The failure to sign Allen, who joined Stoke despite Swansea registering their interest, was not the only body blow they have suffered.

After eight-years and over 350 games, defender Ashley Williams has departed for Everton in a move the Swans say the Wales captain instigated.

Manager Francesco Guidolin also opted to allow a trio of strikers, Alberto Paloschi, Eder and Bafetimbi Gomis to leave the club, though it is the sale of Andre Ayew, Swansea's top scorer last term, that leaves the biggest dearth in terms of goals.

However, confidence will be high that Swansea have signed players who can provide the goals to more than make up for the absence of the Ghana forward.

Swans chairman Huw Jenkins and backer Jason Levien
Swans chairman Huw Jenkins and backer Jason Levien are among the men running the club

Spanish international Fernando Llorente arrives with a pedigree as large as his six foot six inch frame, having excelled previously in both La Liga and Serie A.

He is joined by record signing Borja, the 23-year-old Atletico Madrid forward, who scored 18 La Liga goals on loan at Eibar last season.

Influential midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson will be charged with providing the ammunition for Swansea's Spanish contingent, with his new contract. signed amid serious interest from other Premier League clubs, perhaps Swansea's most significant off-season deal.

The additions of Netherlands duo Leroy Fer and Mike van der Hoorn also boost a club still seeking a replacement for Williams.

Tough start

The Swans could be forgiven for feeling the fixture computer has conspired against them as they face an exceptionally tough start to the season.

While they will feel confident of their prospects in openers against Burnley and Hull City, two sides expected to be battling the drop, the Swans then face a succession of difficult contests against the Premier League's glitterati.

More about Swansea City
Everton sign Williams from Swansea City
Fernando Llorente: Striker hopes Swansea move can lead to Spain return
Angel Rangel: Defender signs new Swansea City contract

The Swans visit champions Leicester at the end of August before clashes with Chelsea, Southampton, Man City in September.

Clashes with Liverpool, Arsenal and a visit to Stoke follow in October, with Man United, Everton and Tottenham all in action against the Swans by the beginning of December.

A flying start will be extremely tricky, so Swansea need to ensure their Spanish revolution begins with a bang, not a siesta.

Swansea's 2016-17 odds

Championship title odds: 1000/1

Championship relegation odds: 7/2

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