Swansea will hope Claude Makelele’s hire can help patch up their awful defense

Claude Makelele has been hired as assistant coach to new coach Paul Clement at Swansea City, and he has a huge task ahead of him: He’s got to help turn the league’s worst defense into something resembling functional.

Swansea have conceded a league-worst 45 goals already this season. They’ve lacked organization in defense and midfield, and they’ve especially missed the presence of their best defender, former captain Ashley Williams, who was sold to Everton in the summer. At best they’ve been awful, and neither Francesco Guidolin nor Bob Bradley was able to sort out the mess.

Now, with Clement at the helm and Makelele at his side, they’ve got to figure out how to get Swansea out of the relegation zone, and it starts with their defense. That’s where the Swans will hope Makelele’s experience can come in handy. During his playing career, the Frenchman’s redefinition of the defensive midfielder position led to it being named the “Makelele role”. He’s won a plethora trophies at the club level, coached alongside Carlo Ancelotti, and spent six months in charge of Bastia before working as technical director for Monaco. Makelele has worked with Clement before, at PSG, and on paper at least, his understanding and tactical intelligence could be just what Swansea need.

Swansea have clearly struggled with defensive organization all season, and that will be priority No. 1 as Clement and Makelele hit the training ground. Still, Swansea haven’t moved to sign any new players in defense, and they’re the same unit that couldn’t keep the goals out under two previous managers. It could take Makelele lacing the boots back up to make any difference if the Swans don’t open up their wallets.

It remains to be seen if Clement can turn Swans around, but on paper Makelele’s hiring looks like a good one. But if they don’t make any signings in January, it may not matter how good of a coach Makelele is; they look destined to go down.