New Swansea City manager Russell Martin has admitted the club are currently lacking squad depth as things stand, as he held his maiden press conference in Wales.
This was the 35-year-old’s first chance to take questions from the press since his appointment on Sunday but with the Swans’ opening league game coming up in just two days, Martin has already been busy assessing his existing squad and drawing up a list of potential transfer targets to pursue over the next few weeks.
With Andre Ayew leaving the Liberty Stadium this summer, creating a major void up front for the Welsh side and captain Matt Grimes also looking set to follow him amid interest from the Premier League and Championship, there are multiple areas the new boss needs to address.
Quiz: Can you remember the score from Swansea City’s last 15 opening day matches?
Martin highlighted this requirement to enter the market in response to journalists and stated: “There’s a lot of work to be done not just in the transfer market but on the training pitch.
“We’re really working hard behind the scenes to strengthen the squad. It is a good squad but we’re a little bit thin at the moment.
“We’d be crazy not to utilise the loan market, it’s something we’re looking at and we’re exploring all areas in terms of transfers.
“If we can strengthen, whether that’s a loan or permanent, if it strengthens us then it’s good enough for me.”
The Swansea City hierarchy have been reluctant to spend over the past few years despite accumulating around £50m in the summer of 2018 on outgoing players, £35m for duo Oli McBurnie and Dan James in 2019 and £11m for Joe Rodon last October.
Many high-profile managers would steer clear from the club after the owners’ failure to reinvest in the club, but Martin is still grateful to be joining the club after arriving from League One outfit MK Dons and went on to talk about how pleased he is to receive this opportunity.
“I spoke to a lot of people in the game, people who had worked here and played here about how special this place is”, he continued.
“I’m not comfortable with being comfortable and I’m really looking forward to the challenge ahead.
“I played against Swansea teams, teams under Roberto Martinez, Brendan Rodgers and Michael Laudrup throughout the years and it was always a tough place to come with a brilliant atmosphere.”
“If I wrote down a list of clubs that I’d like to work for in terms of culture and philosophy, then this club would have been listed on a very short list for me.”
He finished his first meeting with the press by reinforcing the need for a team effort this season – and wants to see several players step up to the plate and be the difference for the Swans.
Martin added: “We are going to play in a way where the strength of the team is the strength. “We’re not going to be reliant on one person and one person only”.
His final quote seems to refer to the departure of Andre Ayew.
Although Swansea weren’t a one-man team when he was at the club, they often relied on him to provide that extra bit of quality to secure their two consecutive finishes in the top six and after building their team around the Ghanaian, they may change their approach with his departure.
The Welsh side’s recruitment team will need to bear this in mind when identifying possible recruits as they seek to improve their squad depth.
Without this depth, they face the prospect of competing in the bottom half of the second tier, a potentially huge blow for them after building towards the Premier League under previous boss Steve Cooper.
This makes the 2021/22 campaign an important one – and dipping into the transfer market will improve their chances of finishing in a respectable position.