Swansea survival ‘very, very pleasing’ – Clement

Head coach Paul Clement will aim to strengthen Swansea City’s squad this summer and says he does not have to sell his best players.

The Swans were bottom of the Premier League table when Clement took over in January, but survived with a game to spare.

Sunday’s 2-1 win over West Brom meant ending the season in 15th place.

“We have to build and look forward. The potential of this current squad as it is can get even better,” said Clement.

Swansea City’s American owners Steve Kaplan, left and Jason Levien watched them beat West Brom

“I don’t envisage massive changes. We want to keep our best players and strengthen, not get weaker.

“We’re not a club that needs to sell.

“I look forward to meeting the owners in the next 24-48 hours to discuss how they think we’ve done and what needs to be done moving forwards.”

Swansea’s turning point

Clement’s appointment was the turning point of a turbulent season for Swansea.

Americans Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan bought a controlling stake of 68% in the club last summer and, by January, there had been two managerial dismissals with Francesco Guidolin and Bob Bradley both getting sacked.

The Swans mustered just 12 points from their first 19 games but, in their subsequent 19 fixtures after Clement’s arrival, they collected an impressive 29 points.

Gylfi Sigurdsson scored nine goals as Swansea survived in the top flight in 2016-17

Central to their revival have been playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson – with nine goals and 13 assists – and striker Fernando Llorente, who struck his 15th goal of the season against West Brom.

Sigurdsson has long been linked with a move to Everton, but has said he is “very happy” at Swansea, while champions Chelsea have shown an interest in Llorente.

Clement hopes Swansea’s strong end to the campaign will help convince both players to remain at the Liberty Stadium.

“He [Sigurdsson] has to think about whether his future is here or he wants another challenge,” said Clement.

“It’s very clear for us. We don’t want to sell him or any of our best players.

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“We want to keep them here, we want to strengthen and I think he, Fernando and the others have enjoyed the second half of the season.

“They can see this is a club that shouldn’t have been fighting relegation, they should have been doing a lot better.”

Swansea: champions in 2018? ‘Don’t count on it’

Swansea’s remarkable end-of-season turnaround had echoes of previous great escapes from relegation, such as Leicester’s in 2015.

The Foxes carried that momentum into the next campaign, which culminated in arguably the most improbable Premier League title triumph in history.

After beating West Brom, Clement was asked if it would be worth putting a bet on Swansea to match Leicester’s feat by winning the league next season.

Grinning, he answered: “Why not? Don’t count on it, though.”

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