Swansea City have completed the signing of Watford defender Ben Wilmot on a season-long loan, the club has confirmed.
The 19-year-old trained with his new teammates for the first time on Thursday morning after becoming the club’s second signing of the summer following Jake Bidwell’s arrival.
Wilmot joins the Liberty Stadium outfit after spending a spell on loan with Serie A side Udinese last term, and he will now provide much-needed depth to Steve Cooper’s side’s defence.
So, could this be a masterstroke loan signing by the Swans? We take a closer look in today’s FLW Six Pointer…
Firstly, how did this signing come about?
“Wilmot has made a small number of experiences for Watford’s first team and also played out on loan at Udinese last season, so he is now ready for a season-long loan to gain experience.
“This made him a good fit for Swansea, who made it clear they were looking to be creative by exploiting the loan market this summer. Cooper knows Wilmot from his time within the FA development set-up, so the defender would have been high on his list of potential signings.
“Therefore, this is a move that makes sense for all parties. Watford will see one of their brightest young prospects gain valuable first-team experience, while Swansea will benefit from his skill set. Meanwhile, Wilmot will be able to develop his playing style under a familiar training routine.”
What is Wilmot’s background?
“The 19-year-old started his career in the lower leagues with Hitchin Town before making the switch to Stevenage, where he was eventually picked up by Watford in 2018.
“Since arriving at Vicarage Road, he has made a total of six appearances for the Hornets and has been praised for the maturity he showed in those outings.
“Wilmot also spent some time out on loan with Udinese last term, so he arrives in South Wales with solid experience for such a young defender. He will now be looking to take this to the next level by playing regularly in the second tier.”
What qualities does he possess?
“Wilmot is an ideal fit for Swansea as he is comfortable on the ball, so will be at ease with the possession-based style of play that Cooper is set to implement in South Wales.
“He also boasts excellent versatility as he has thrived playing both defensive and midfield roles in the past, and is equally comfortable in either. He would provide stern competition for Joe Rodon and Mike van der Hoorn at the back, while he could also form an exciting midfield partnership with Matt Grimes.
“Wilmot also has maturity beyond his years, which will be vital in a young Swansea side that is growing in experience. The 19-year-old has strong positional awareness and has excellent movement off the ball, so the Swans will certainly benefit from his intelligence next term.”
Will he skills be a good fit for the Swans?
“Definitely. He fits the exact profile of player Cooper would have been looking to recruit this summer, as he is young and can also be used in several positions within the 4-2-3-1 formation.
“Swansea started the process of reclaiming their passing identity under Graham Potter last term, and Cooper is clearly set to continue this next season. Wilmot has the precise skill set to help implement a brand of progressive, passing football.
“The addition of Wilmot is reflective of the new manager’s intentions, and is the kind of signing you would have expected the club to make during their rise to the Premier League at the start of the decade.”
Where can you see him slotting in Cooper’s plans?
“I think Wilmot will provide a sound defensive alternative to Rodon, with one of the two being utilised alongside van der Hoorn. They are similar players in that they are both young and strong on the ball, but would benefit from playing alongside a more experienced figure.
“This means that Wilmot may not enter Cooper’s starting line-up immediately, but his versatility means he will not be anywhere near short of game time.
“I fully expect him to be regularly used in midfield as well as defence, as I think he is unique to Swansea’s other midfielders in that he can play alongside a more defensive role. This could work very well alongside Grimes or George Byers’ forward-thinking approach.”
Finally, can you see this signing going down as a success?
“I can see this going down as an extremely shrewd move from Swansea.
“Wilmot is a perfect fit with the club’s identity, while it is still a fairly low-risk move as the club have brought him in on a loan deal.
“This will also serve as a boost to the fan base, who may have been concerned at the club’s failure to bring in Jake Clarke-Salter on lona. Wilmot’s arrival will satisfy the supporters’ desire for a new signing, and it is also a move that is all set to benefit the Swans on the pitch too.”