It’s been a strange few years at Swansea City. From their highest points haul and position in 2014/15, the Swans fell deep into the relegation fight for the second successive season. Now seemingly reviving their form under Paul Clement, the Swans welcome back a player that has been something of a canary down the mine.
Jefferson Montero has arguably been a one-man representation of the situation at Swansea in recent years. In his debut Premier League season, Montero gained plaudit after plaudit, repeatedly destroying full-backs of great reputation. Branislav Ivanovic and Calum Chambers are just two esteemed right-backs to finish dizzied and torn to shreds after trying to catch Montero. This incredible form from the Ecuadorian coincided with Garry Monk’s impressive first full season as manager, in which Swansea finished 8th on a record 56 points.
Similarly, when a shocking run of form for Swansea led to Monk’s sacking in December 2015, Montero struggled to recapture his first season form, and was often singled out as not working hard enough. Having successfully completed 79 take-ons in 2014/15, Montero only managed 41 in his second season, while only securing 1 assist compared to 7 in 2014/15. Once a potent attacking and creative force alongside Wilfried Bony, Montero could not establish the same rapport with Bafetimbi Gomis. Interestingly, Montero created a similar number of chances in each of his first two seasons.
Montero has this week returned to training, and will do so with a point to prove. He will look to re-establish himself as a first-choice winger, having fallen behind Wayne Routledge, Nathan Dyer and even Gylfi Sigurdsson. He will be heartened by the approach of Paul Clement, in which there has been a focus on getting the ball out wide to be whipped into Fernando Llorente. There is little dispute that Montero is a competent crosser of the ball, and he will relish the idea of partnering the in-form Llorente.
Given the stable nature of the current line-up, Montero will probably have to prove himself in cameo substitute appearances for a few weeks, and will look to secure a place in Clement’s plans ahead of an important summer for Swansea. The next few months could be very important for the future of Jefferson Montero, and Swans fans everywhere will be hoping he can recapture his exciting form.