Steve Cooper is unlikely to be splashing any cash in the January sales – and will look again to the loan market if striker Sam Surridge is recalled by Bournemouth.
As the Swans visit high-flying West Brom on Sunday, it’s not just the club’s recent form that is increasing the worry lines on the manager’s face.
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has suggested he may need to consider recalling Surridge from his loan spell if injuries continue to damage their prospects of remaining in the Premier League, a phone call Cooper hopes will not be interrupting his Christmas.
The Swans will look to Surridge for goals at The Hawthorns as three of his five so far this season have been on the road where Cooper’s side remain unbeaten.
But if the England U21 forward cuts short his time in south Wales, Cooper admits the Swans are too broke to splash much cash.
“We are not going to be spending as much as some of our rivals, that’s for sure,” said Cooper, whose team have slipped from top spot to eighth on the back of wretched home form.
“We have to be selective with our loans and as the chairman has said, we won’t be bringing anyone in unless somebody goes. That’s the way it is.
“But we can’t let that frustrate us. I have to get the best out of what we have.”
Cooper lost Daniel James to Manchester United, Oli McBurnie to Sheffield United and Jordan Ayew to Crystal Palace in the summer.
If Surridge left early, they would be down to one main striker in Borja Baston and the stuttering Spaniard has not scored since September.
Cooper insists the Swans have a contingency plan if the Cherries coming picking and added: “You can be vulnerable if that clause is in a contract. If that happens we will be ready.
“We are not already sitting here speaking to clubs or players, telling them to keep their phone on just in case something happens.
“But we know exactly what we would like to do if something happened. In an ideal world, it doesn’t and we just carry on.”
West Brom are looking for a sixth straight win and Cooper admits he’s not surprised by their rise to the top of the table.
“They should be near the top, given the squad they have and the resources they have available. I know it doesn’t always work like that, but they’ve made it work.
“I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that they are competing well at the moment.”
The current month represents Cooper’s first taste of mid-season wheeler-dealing ahead of a window and he admits the flurry of calls during the summer of his arrival taught him plenty.
“The summer was interesting. I couldn’t believe how a phone can ring as much as it did, and with so many messages, on one day – and then day after it stops. It’s unbelievable. All I do is forward them on because we have people here at the club who look after that.
“But how it can go from a Christmas sale one day, to full price the next, or a shut up shop, is unbelievable. When I hear people talks about how mad the windows are, I’ve had a little taste already.”
The handlers of any of those inquiries are chairman Trevor Birch and Leon Britton, the former playing stalwart, brief appointee as coach and fleeting inheritor of the title caretaker manager, who is now sporting director.
Cooper adds: “We have a good management structure here. There won’t be any players going, or coming in, without me having the final say.
“But I believe in a collaborative approach. You trust the recruitment department to do their job and trust the business side. I can’t be narrow-minded in that because Swansea City stands for that – working together.
“The old manager role would involve more than I do now. That suits me. I’m more consumed with training programmes and the games, and trying to keep the motivation high.
“There is a good communication about what we’d like to do – but it’s down to Andy Scott and Trevor and Leon about making it happen.
“It’s modern approach with a sporting director. It’s become a bit more prevalent now in this country. In others, it’s the norm.
Cooper has no doubts the influence of Britton will be considerable as he negotiates his first January window and the possible threat of losing more of his squad.
“He’s a brilliant character and a really good guy and he knows the game. He’s intelligent. I’m sure there are bits that have gone really well and bits he’s learning about.
“Ajax do this kind of move from playing. You look at someone like Marc Overmars. How it’s going you’d have to ask him, but any club who has Leon Britton would see that as a positive.
“He was a brilliant player, but he’s a clubman and he always puts the club first in all his thinking.”