Paul Watson | We need to be fully aligned as a club to bring success to Swansea City
New Swansea City sporting director Paul Watson has stressed the importance of the club being aligned at all levels in order to build a platform for a successful future.
Watson has taken on the position with the Swans following a successful five-year stint in the same position with Luton Town, during which time the Hatters climbed from League Two all the way to the heights of the Premier League.
While the remit of Watson’s job has considerable width, he acknowledges his first priority will be player recruitment as he looks to work effectively with ownership and new head coach Michael Duff in order to help the Swans strengthen their squad ahead of the 2023-24 Championship campaign.
Following in the wake of a January window where the club did not make any additions to the senior squad, Watson says discussions between ownership, senior management and football management have led to an agreement of an amended structure and system which he hopes will ensure there will be no repeat moving forward.
“We have had a number of discussions and we have agreed on a clear vision of where we want to be. The change of manager will help in some ways because they are fully aligned to how I see it, and how Josh (Marsh) and ownership are approaching things,” he said.
“Recruitment is going to be key, and we are all aligned and in agreement from the discussions we have had about moving forward.
“There is a really talented group of footballers here, and we need to look at that first. No matter who the manager is, reinforcements are going to be required in certain areas.
“Ultimately we want to help this squad with a bit more physicality and robustness. There will be a tweak to the way we play, but we want to help the team push up that league.
“As I say, first and foremost we have a clear plan. I don’t think anyone at this football club – from ownership to players and management – wanted to be in that position in January.
“Ultimately, I was not here at that time, and I cannot really comment any further on that, but I certainly do not expect us to be in that place moving forward.
“January is a tough window to recruit in, but if we end up not signing anyone in the next January window, that will be because we have agreed that as a club and we will communicate that clearly.
“But going forward we have put plans and a framework in place to help ensure we are not in that place again, and that was a key point before I came in.”
Watson will work alongside head of football operations Josh Marsh, and believes the pair are already striking up a productive working relationship.
“Josh has got real good knowledge, I have enjoyed getting to know him and looking at the work he has done previous to my arrival,” added Watson.
“I think he has put in place a really good foundation that we want to evolve, we want to push forward from.
“We are working in tandem, he has helped me find my feet and we have worked well together, and long may that continue when it comes to pushing forward because recruitment is the first big challenge we are going to face.
“We have a wonderful academy and catchment area here. First of all, do we want to produce our own players? Of course we do, because of the work that goes on in that academy.
“But, do we need players who have played a lot and who are at their peak age, where they can come in and impact the team? Yes.
“So, I think it will be about that blend that can help us push things forward.”
Watson has been impressed by the standard of staff and facilities he has already encountered at the club’s various sites.
And he hopes he can utilise the experience he has gained working as an agent, and then in senior roles at Hartlepool and Luton, to help the Swans push forward.
“It’s taken a bit of time, but I am excited to get down to work with the project here,” he said.
“I really enjoyed my five years at Luton with a good staff and foundation, but I felt this was the best move for my career after speaking to the ownership group and hearing their plans for the future from this point.
“I hope I can come in and have an influence, and get the club into a better place in the next few years.
“The facilities here are of Premier League standard, and so are the staff. I have had a warm welcome, it has been a whistlestop tour, but you can see there is a lot of talent here and if we can mould a team that matches the level of facilities then we won’t be doing too bad.
“I have accumulated a lot of knowledge over the last five years, and I am hopeful of bringing that here and helping us have a clear plan of how we want to recruit, how we want to play and bring through our own players.
“It’s about having an aligned approach, because that provides the best platform for success on and off the field.”