Swansea take yet another gamble with Paul Clement named new manager
After a string of lost gambles on managers without Premier League experience, Swansea are taking yet another chance on an outsider.
Swansea have named Paul Clement the club’s new head coach to fill the role vacated by Bob Bradley last week. Clement leaves a stint as Carlo Ancelotti’s assistant at Bayern Munich for the job, which he will start in time for next weekend’s match fixtures.
It’s a move that shows Swansea haven’t quite been scared off their penchant to take a chance on managers without head coaching experience in England’s top flight. Clement’s only significant Premier League stint came as an assistant for Ancelotti with Chelsea, and the entirety of his head coaching experience amounts to seven months with Derby County in the Championship.
Just as was the case with Bob Bradley, Francesco Guidolin and Garry Monk — the managers who were hired and fired before — the Swans again bring in a coach who looks like something of gamble. The Swans could have played it safer over the last few months and chased down coaches like Sam Allardyce or the newly jobless Alan Pardew, who have both EPL experience and records of working with struggling clubs. They could’ve even put a call in to Roy Hodgson. But instead, they repeatedly have opted for newcomers, a recent tradition Clement continues.
Clement’s resume is filled with top clubs like Chelsea, Real Madrid, PSG and Bayern Munich, as he’s been one of Ancelotti’s right-hand men. But his only head coaching job came in a brief spell with Derby County in the first part of the 2015-16 season, where he was sacked after going seven matches without a win.
Of course, this time around, Swansea may not have had much of a choice other than to hire somewhat of an outsider. The Swans coaching job is one of the least attractive in the EPL right now and the instability surrounding the club probably would scare off the safest of coaching options. Being in 19th place on the brink of relegation with a weak roster and a string of former coaches isn’t an ideal situation for any new hire.
Swansea were widely rumored to be looking at Ryan Giggs, Gary Rowett and Chris Coleman for the job, with reports indicating those candidates turned it down. If Swansea tried to go after a well-known and experienced EPL manager like Pardew in this latest go-round, it stands to reason the job might’ve been a hard sell.
Though Clement is short of head coaching experience, Ancelotti has called on him repeatedly to be his top assistant — and Clement was on coaching staffs that won titles in the UEFA Champions League, the Premier League and Ligue 1. Though he may lack top coaching experience, the Swans are probably betting that his assistant experience will translate.
That’s a big bet, but Clement will be set up to succeed early with Swansea’s ownership already committing to spending money in the January transfer window. That window and how aggressive the club is willing to be may end up mattering more than Clement’s resume, at least in the short term.
The roster was so broken after a series of sales without replacements that any coach would have struggled to take on the stretch Bradley just did — indeed, many called it harsh to fire Bradley without a chance to fix the roster. The loss of centerback Ashley Williams in August was particularly troublesome as the defense struggled without him. Now Clement can make an immediate impact, regardless of his experience.
But fans in Swansea seem particularly short on patience these days. Bradley struggled to help the Swans turn things around as manager and was sacked after just 11 matches, one of the shortest manager stints in EPL history. The club’s American owners said they wanted to spend in the January window with Bradley at the helm, but fan discontent apparently forced their hand.
For the Swans, who now sit firmly in the relegation zone, Clement’s hiring another gamble that they must hope will pay off. Otherwise, the coaching carousel may continue, and it may continue into the second division, too.
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