Five players Swansea City should sign

Sports Mole picks out five new signings who would improve Swansea City ahead of their European adventure.

When Brendan Rodgers left for Liverpool last summer, Swansea City supporters could have been forgiven for fearing the worst.

He had guided them to safety during their first season in the Premier League, but now they had been thrown into uncertainty. The replacement was Michael Laudrup, who arrived on English shores with a big reputation from his playing days and his managerial spells in Spain.

The Dane soon wiped away any doubts with a string of impressive results and went on to guide the club to success in the League Cup at Wembley.

With the Europa League to plan for as well now, Laudrup has already recruited Jose Canas and Jordi Amat, but more fresh faces are needed. Here, Sports Mole has picked five players who we feel would bolster the ranks at the Liberty Stadium.

Davide Astori, Cagliari

Over the past two campaigns, Ashley Williams has emerged as a solid Premier League centre-back. As so often when such form is displayed, the big boys start to swoop.

For a number of weeks now the Welsh international has been linked with Liverpool and Arsenal and some reports have claimed that they are both switches that would tempt the centre-back.

Now, if the 28-year-old stays put, then the arrival of Amat is arguably enough to put pressure on the current partnership between Williams and Chico Flores. Any departure would mean that Laudrup would need to dip into his cash reserves.

Astori, who has long been courted by Southampton, is the sort of footballer that the Swansea boss craves. He's comfortable in possession and his first thought is always to try to pick out a teammate. No disrespect to Williams, but the 26-year-old Italian is probably a better player on the deck.

At 6'2", he should also be able to cope with the physical demands of English football.

Davide Santon, Newcastle United

The rise of left-back Ben Davies last season was so impressive that his absence from the list of nominees for the PFA Young Player of the Year award felt somewhat unjust. He stepped in to fill the void left by Neil Taylor, who suffered a terrible injury.

Taylor returned towards the end of the campaign, but until he gets a full pre-season under his belt, it will be hard to tell if he will ever be the same player.

On the other defensive flank is Angel Rangel, who like Davies, had a decent year. There is, though, very little competition for the Spaniard. When fit, he will have to play.

Signing Santon would not only prevent any complacency, it would also provide versatility because he has shown for Newcastle that he can operate either on the left or right side of the defence.

The Italian also ticks the boss when it comes to being content on the ball.

Newcastle's Davide Santon in action against Anzhi Makhachkala on March 14, 2013© PA Photos

Callum McManaman, Wigan Athletic

Whatever Laudrup said to his wingers last season, it worked. The Danish boss was able to get the very best out of the likes of Wayne Routledge, Nathan Dyer and Pablo Hernandez at one time or another.

It appears that he would like to sign Nathan Redmond to make it a quartet of wide options, but the Birmingham City winger has other choices to ponder and is reportedly keen on Everton.

If they lose out on the England youth international, then an alternative will be required. Unlike Redmond, McManaman has shone in the Premier League and can also boast a man of the match performance in the FA Cup final.

He may not possess the tricks that the current Swansea trio do, but he's quick, direct and can drag a defender both inside and out. With Wigan Athletic having been relegated as well, he could be available for slightly less than his market value.

Wigan's Callum McManaman celebrates after scoring his team's second against Millwall on April 13, 2013© PA Photos

Carlos Vela, Real Sociedad

On the face of it, it probably looks as though that Vela didn't have the ability to cut it in the Premier League during his stint with Arsenal. It should be remembered, though, that the Mexican was at the club during a time when manager Arsene Wenger tended to play with a lone striker, which when injury-free, was Robin van Persie.

Rather than sit on the bench and collect his wages, Vela joined Sociedad on loan in 2011 and then permanently a year later. It's a move that has transformed the 24-year-old.

During his time with the White and Blues, he has scored 26 goals and made 17 assists, helping them to defy the odds and qualify for the Champions League in the process.

It would probably be considered a risk to bring Vela back to England, but it is a gamble that may very well pay off. Not just a scorer of goals, Vela is also an able footballer with a low centre of gravity. He is the sort of player who could form a good understanding with Michu.

Romelu Lukaku, Chelsea

Football is a squad game these days and none more so is that true then when your side have a European campaign ahead of them. The Swans are in the Europa League as well, so providing that they reach the group stages, they will have at least six Thursday-Sunday encounters.

For teams like Swansea, who are not used to such demands, it can be a real challenge as Newcastle United showed last term.

One area that does require freshness in particular is the striking options. Michu did so well upon his arrival (he cost £2m, in case you don't recall) that it will take some effort just to match the 22 goals that he scored in all competitions.

Swansea have been linked with Wilfried Bony recently and while his goalscoring record last year cannot be ignored, it was achieved in the Netherlands. Remember, for every Ruud van Nistelrooy, there is a Mateja Kezman.

There is no such worry with Lukaku, who proved himself in England during a loan stint with West Bromwich Albion from Chelsea.

If Blues manager Jose Mourinho cannot guarantee him regular action down at the Bridge over the coming months, it's likely that the 20-year-old will edge for at least another temporary move. He wants to go to the World Cup with Belgium after all.

He hit 17 goals for the Baggies and if Michu either dropped deeper or was injured, Lukaku would provide a similar if not greater physical presence up front.

West Brom striker Romelu Lukaku celebrates his penalty on November 24, 2012© PA Photos

Betis' Jose Canas in action against Barcelona on January 15, 2012
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