By 90Min
July 21, 2018

For many clubs, relegation brings about a whole catalogue of changes; especially when dropping from the Premier League into the Championship. The difference in income between the two tiers of English football is unbelievably vast, and as much euphoria as it brings clubs heading into the top flight, that change can be equally as devastating to teams on their way down.

And that's exactly why you get wholesale changes - playing staff leaving, budget cuts wherever possible. There's no more of that sweet gold mine in TV rights deals the Premier League has, and changes have to be made accordingly.

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When Swansea were relegated back in May, the call for change was huge - though not in the way most would want. Swans fans have been absorbed in the change of manager, the drastic staffing alterations that ensure a completely new direction is taken, and the 'fresh start' that everyone has been yearning for over the last few years.

But is that a budget cut? From what it seems, the arrival of Graham Potter and his backroom team that were so integral to Ostersunds' rise in the last decade has been met with great optimism, but you get the feeling that the club is still operating as if it were a Premier League side.

That's completely fine, for now, as long as necessary measures are taken that ensure Swansea don't become the next Aston Villa; the club need to relieve that wage bill some day soon. Initially, it wasn't to be a problem - it seemed as though there would be a mass exodus when it came to playing staff, a new name linked away by the day. Fantastic news, let's take the wage money back AND pick up a tidy transfer fee.

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Since June, though, as we head towards August, there's been a rather scary lack of activity. Roque Mesa has gone, as has Lukasz Fabianski, but that's not enough to cover the club for the next season.

This is a problem financially, but even more detrimental to the long-term future of the team than anyone might think at the start - especially in the attacking third of the pitch.

So what exactly does that mean, how could keeping the club's best players be a bad thing?

Look at it like this: Wilfried Bony, Andre Ayew and Jordan Ayew - three players that are taking up a lot of the wage bill, who would all be expecting to be on the team sheet week in week out if they were to stay, and who last season didn't do nearly enough to warrant a place in a performing top flight team.

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Now, don't get this wrong, if these three played together in the Championship next season, they'd almost certainly tear it apart, wouldn't they? Of course (maybe). But at what cost does that come?

Yan Dhanda (19), Joel Asoro (19), Oli McBurnie (22) and George Byers (22). Four names every Swansea fan should know by now, and four players that will have their eyes firmly fixed on breaking into the first team next season.

Each player offers so much promise to Swansea, and the Championship is a breeding ground for young, hungry players.

By the looks of things, Potter is very focused on progressing young players - with Dhanda and Asoro only arriving this summer, and McBurnie and Byers only recently having signed new contracts.

It's all heading in the right direction: rebuilding the Swansea way with young players. Regaining that original identity that helped mould the likes of Scott Sinclair and Joe Allen.

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But in order to facilitate that, room needs to be made. Bony and the Ayews have all been subject to interest this summer, and fans won't want to see them leave; but the bottom line is if they stay, the club won't be able to transform into the side Potter, the board and the fans all want.

What is it everyone wants? A fresh approach.

Say the current three first choice attackers remain on SA1. There's every chance promotion is earned. However, Swansea then find themselves with the same misfiring trio that got them relegated in the first place; all the while any young player hoping to break through is still stuck in the Under 23's, low on confidence and looking for a route out.

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If Bony and Co leave, that extra room is freed up for the likes of McBurnie and Byers to absolutely thrive - knowing full well they have the backing of their manager, their club, and the supporters.

A season of consistent football in the Championship earns these players a shot at the top flight, and we all know how well Brendan Rodgers' sole Premier League season with the Swans went. A young side, hungry to prove everyone wrong, can be devastating.

That's what Potter is trying to build, but the fact that only two first team players have left so far this summer really threatens that vision.

There's little the club can do other than hope some teams come in and buy the dead weight that is on offer. Otherwise, what's to stop Swansea following the paths of either Aston Villa or Sunderland?

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