Year in Review | July

27th December 2019
First team
Jay Fulton

We resume our reflection on 2019 with a look back at what happened in July.

When the transfer window opened, the Swans wasted no time in securing their first summer signing as left-back Jake Bidwell arrived on a three-year deal.

The 26-year-old was a free agent following his departure from Queens Park Rangers upon the expiry of his contract in West London.

Bidwell, who made just under 100 appearances for the Rs, linked up with Steve Cooper’s pre-season training camp in Spain and Portugal, which concluded with Barrie McKay scoring a late winner in the 2-1 victory over Mansfield Town.

There was more good news the following week as George Byers put pen-to-paper on a new three-year contract – keeping him at the Liberty until the summer of 2022.

The midfielder marked the occasion by scoring the second goal as the Swans opened their pre-season schedule on British soil with a 3-2 win over Crawley Town.

Nathan Dyer and Oli McBurnie were also on target during a commanding performance by Cooper’s side, although they had to be on guard later on after the hosts launched a spirited fightback from 3-0 down.

Three days later, Jay Fulton was the unlikely hat-trick hero as the Swans swept Yeovil Town aside 6-1 at Huish Park. Bersant Celina had opened the scoring for the visitors, while later strikes from Barrie McKay and Courtney Baker-Richardson put the icing on the cake.

Celina then netted twice the following Saturday, while Nathan Dyer was also on target in a 3-1 win away at Exeter City.

Having spent the previous two seasons out on loan, Borja Baston returned to the Swans’ matchday squad for that game.

And the Spaniard made a tremendous impact off the bench three days later – scoring the second goal in a 3-0 victory at Bristol Rovers.

Fulton opened the scoring for the visitors – netting his fourth goal of pre-season – before Joel Asoro sealed the win later on.

That week also saw plenty of action off the pitch. The Swans completed their second summer signing as centre-half Ben Wilmot arrived from Watford on a season-long loan.

Despite being just 19 years old at the time, the England youth international already boasted plenty of experience – having spent the previous campaign on loan at Serie A side Udinese.

Ben Wilmot

That same day, Jordan Ayew departed the club after two-and-a-half years – joining Crystal Palace, with whom he had spent the previous season on loan.

The Ghanaian scored 12 goals in 58 appearances for the Swans and was their leading marksman during the 2017-18 campaign with 11 in all competitions.

Elsewhere, the club announced that Chris Pearlman would be leaving his role as chief operating officer after three years, while former Watford sporting director Andy Scott was appointed the new head of recruitment.

Back on the field, the Swans completed their pre-season preparations by coming from behind to beat Italian outfit Atalanta 2-1 at the Liberty.

After falling behind to Josip Ilicic’s early strike, a Hans Hateboer own-goal drew the contest level before Connor Roberts’ header ensured a sixth win from six games for Cooper’s side.

Having worn the captain’s armband that day – as well as in the win over Exeter – Matt Grimes was named the Swans’ new skipper for the 2019-20 campaign.

The midfielder, who won four accolades at the club’s end-of-season awards for 2018-19, was deemed the right man for the responsibility, which had been shared by Leroy Fer and Mike van der Hoorn the previous campaign.

On the Academy front, July saw new one-year deals handed to Cameron Evans, Daniel Williams, Marc Walsh and Mason Jones-Thomas, while under-23s players Gregor Zabret and Joe Lewis headed out on loan for the season to Oldham and Torquay respectively.