Garry Monk
Garry Monk led Swansea to unprecedented success last term Getty

Last season

Premier League: 8<sup>th

FA Cup: Fourth round

League Cup: Fourth round

Top scorer: Bafetimbi Gomis (10)

Summer's work

One of the most impressive deals during the early flurry of transfer business this summer was the arrival of Andre Ayew from Marseille. At just 25, he is a relative veteran of French football and the Ghanaian national team and his arrival on a free transfer could represent another very shrewd move from the south Wales club, perhaps the best of the season. Portugal international Eder, another powerful striker of a similar ilk to Bafetimbi Gomis, provides more firepower after his £5m ($7.7m) arrival while Frenchman Franck Tabanou will gives another option at the back. Swedish shot stopper Kristoffer Nordfeldt and teenage striker Oliver McBurnie have also been snapped up.

Andre Ayew
Andre Ayew could be the signing of the summer Getty


In what was just his first full season as Swans manager, Monk thoroughly defied expectation. A season where he guided the club to their best Premier League finish as well as completing doubles over Manchester United and Arsenal (becoming only the third manager in the Premier League era to do so) have helped him forge a reputation as perhaps the league's brightest young gaffer. Meticulous in his work, Monk has kept the club playing an attractive but measured brand of football that has been the basis of their success.

Key player – Ashley Williams

One of the Premier League's most consistent defenders has been the bedrock of Swansea's backline. Looking at the club's other options at the back, there is the argument Swansea are over-reliant on the 31 year old. The fact that the Wales international played in every minute of his 37 league appearances for the club – he missed the final day of the season defeat to Crystal Palace – is a measure of just how vital his presence and leadership is to the club's progress.

Ashley Williams
Ashley Williams was a rock at the back last season. Getty


After last season's highs, Swansea could now find themselves in the position where they are unable to push on. Considering their outlay in recent transfer windows, the financial backing needed to crack a top sixth challenge, let alone anything else, would appear to be beyond the club.

Another endearing quality Monk possesses is his frank honesty and realism. Swansea of the Premier League era operate under a modest budget and their progress has been driven by his savvy and determinism rather than the club's cheque book. The former club captain is aware improving on the club's superb position from last season is an extremely demanding prospect.

"I'm ambitious, the players are ambitious, the club's ambitious and the fans are ambitious. For sure, I'm going to push the players to take a step forward again," he said. "That is my sole aim for next season. But realistically it will be extremely hard to top what we've done this season, in terms of points, where we are in the league and how we've done it, and I think people need to understand and realise that."

IBT prediction 8<sup>th

Swansea are too good to slip down the table but it would appear they do not have the power to climb up it either. It's as you were.