Borja Baston - Atletico Madrid
Losing three strikers prior to the opening of a new Premier League season would be a nightmare for any club and their fans. A lack of any real firepower is terminal for any team, and a recipe for relegation. This is exactly the situation that Swansea City found themselves in. Eder left for Lille while Bafetimbi Gomis joined him in France by signing for Marseille. Alberto Paloschi was an early summer exit when he penned a deal at Atalanta in Italy.
With the start of the season inexorable, Swansea fans would have felt this nightmare was turning into a night-terror when their striker problems were compounded by Ashley Williams being linked with a move away from the Welsh side.
However, after Gylfi Sigurdsson signed a new four-year deal at Swansea, it was revealed that Swansea had rejected Everton’s bid for Williams before the news broke that Fernando Llorente was signing for Wales’ only representative in the Premier League.
With Swansea at last bringing in reinforcements for their depleted front-line, the inevitable comparisons will begin. In this series of articles, we take a look at what Fernando Llorente and Borja Baston will bring to the Welsh side and who should be the main man on the opening day of the season.
Fernando Llorente and Adil Rami (R) during training at Sevilla
The Atletico Madrid striker has been without a fixed home since the beginning of the 2011 season. Since then, he has spent a year on loan at Murcia, Huesca, Deportiva La Coruna, Zaragoza and Eibar.
Baston’s season at Eibar last term and Zaragoza the year before were his most prolific scoring 18 and 22 goals respectively. The BBC reported that Swansea will break their transfer record to sign the 23-year-old, with Welsh fans hoping his big fee will bring a lot of goals.
The Atletico striker will feel aggrieved at his lack of playing time as he was never really afforded a chance. After playing just a single time for Atletico, he was loaned out at every opportunity. Perhaps now his proposed move to Swansea will ignite his career.
Baston is quite like an old style centre-forward. He is a very talented finisher when given the chance. Proficient with both feet, his efforts often find the bottom corner. What makes him seem like a more classic centre-forward is the fact many of his goals are tap-ins. While some might claim that strikers scoring tap-ins are very unimpressive, it takes a certain degree of intelligence to be in the right place at the right time and keep their composure to finish.
Borja Baston - Atletico Madrid
He is also very dangerous when it comes to set pieces. Standing at 6 feet and 1 inch, Baston can hardly be described as tall. However, where he excels is his opportunism. He is always looking for precious pockets of space in the box, ready to pounce on any poor touch or spilled shot.
The fact he is not particularly tall also adds to his strength. The Spaniard has a very low centre of gravity, making him a tough prospect to knock off the ball. This will play into Swansea’s hands nicely with his ability to keep hold of the ball and wait for support vital in the coming season.
Where Baston will struggle is with the Swans’ style of play. Slow build up and a focus on passing the ball, the 23-year-old is not blessed with particularly good passing ability. Therefore, it is something he must work on in training if he is to become Swansea’s first choice striker.