How Swansea re-signing De Guzman, netting Naismith can save them
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | January 15, 2016
A damaging 4-2 home defeat by Sunderland in midweek has damaged the survival bid of Swansea City.
In reaction to losing to their relegation rivals, Coral have cut the Swans’ odds to go down from 10/3 into 6/4.
The south Wales side couldn’t attract a new head coach to replace the sacked Garry Monk, so have left caretaker Alan Curtis in interim charge for the rest of the season.
Shelvey sale, recruitment struggles
Swansea need signings, especially after selling England midfielder Jonjo Shelvey to Newcastle United – another side down in the dogfight – for £12m.
Having failed to persuade a string of managers linked with the Liberty Stadium to take the job on, Swans chairman Huw Jenkins now needs January transfer window success.
Widespread reports claim Swansea are seeking two signings; one a familiar face to the club and another a proven Premier League performer.
De Guzman deal?
Dutch midfielder Jonathan de Guzman came very close to joining the Swans permanently following two seasons on loan from Villarreal.
Choosing Serie A side Napoli, over pledging his long-term future to the team that propelled him into international football with the Netherlands, looks to have been a mistake.
De Guzman has played just 37 games for the Little Donkeys, and his time in Naples has been affected by injuries.
A product of Feyenoord’s fine academy, Canadian-born De Guzman got a place in Louis van Gaal’s Dutch national squad for the 2014 World Cup off the back of his exploits at Swansea.
During his two-season spell at the Liberty, De Guzman scored 16 goals and made 13 assists from midfield in 95 games. He is now understood to be close to returning, but it is not clear whether this would be another loan or a permanent transfer.
Back to the future with tactics
Used in a box-to-box role throughout his initial Swans stint, De Guzman delivered dynamism which is something the side have clearly been lacking this term.
South Korea international Ki Sung-Yueng has scored once from the engine room this season, as did Shelvey before his sale to the Magpies.
Curtis could address this by adding De Guzman and slotting him in alongside Ki or Swansea stalwart Leon Britton, who has just reached 400 league games for the Swans, but was coy about a move.
“Jonathan served the club well and, if he was available, I’m sure we would be interested,” Curtis told reporters.
With a natural instinct to get forward, De Guzman would supplement Gylfi Sigurdsson, Andre Ayew and others supporting the main striker, which could be Everton’s Steven Naismith.
Steal Naismith from under Norwich’s nose
Previously and strongly linked to Norwich City (yet another relegation rival), Scotland forward Naismith represents a versatile option for the Swans that would be more mobile than labouring target man Bafetimbi Gomis.
“I think he’s on a list [of transfer targets],” said Curtis of Naismith. “I know he’s a player available – he’s an excellent player. Like all good players, if we can afford to bring him in, then we will be interested.
“We’re still looking for that main striker. Steve is probably someone who plays just behind the main striker but someone we will be interested in. There’s a need to strengthen and we’ve got some money in the bank now, so it’s important we spend it.”
What an impact
Despite hitting a hat-trick against Chelsea earlier this season, Naismith is out of favour at Goodison Park, with Roberto Martinez preferring the likes of Gerard Deulofeu, Arouna Kone and Romelu Lukaku in attack.
While a return of 26 goals and 12 assists from 123 games for the Toffees doesn’t look all that impressive, Naismith has completed a full match on just 37 occasions, which is just 30 per cent of all appearances.
Those stats illustrate the impact he can have in limited time and we are past the halfway stage in the Premier League season. Nifty Naismith’s scoring exploits could save the Swans from the drop, where his hard work would combine nicely with steady supply.