Gloomy times lie in Swansea right now. At the foot of the Premier League table, the Swans seem all but doomed to relegation.
Thursday morning saw new manager Carlos Carvalhal take his first steps into Swansea's impressive Landore training facility, and that's where he'll stay - provided things go well. Carvalhal has been signed on a six month deal, his current contract will run until the end of the season with an option to extend should the club choose to.
But look at it like this: Why are a Premier League side hiring a manager who has just been fired by a team in the bottom half of the Championship? It all points to one thought process - Swansea are getting relegated and they need a boss who can guide them whilst in the second tier.
On the face of it, this very much feels like it did when the club hired Francesco Guidolin back in 2016. Get a foreign manager in who specialises in the area that the club is weak on, in order to bring a new approach, and hopefully survive.
But, and this is a big but; here at 90min we like to remain optimistic. So here's a few reasons as to why Swansea may have made a good move in signing Carvalhal...
Let's begin with his history. The Portuguese boss has been very hit and miss. At some clubs he's been an instant success - we're talking continental football and league titles here. He's taken charge of team such as Braga, Sporting CP and Besiktas - so he's experienced at the top.
However, he's has some awful moments in management - as in, fired within months of being at clubs; that's clubs, plural. It's happened on quite a few occasions.
Nevertheless, his time at Sheffield Wednesday should be considered a success. Carvalhal took a team with little to no promotion hopes to successive Championship play-offs. He was fired because his team wasn't lurking around the top bunch of the league this season - something unimaginable before his arrival. Some might call him a victim of his own success.
So what will he bring to Swansea?
Well, Carvalhal is a very attacking coach. At the start of 2016, the new Swans boss was quoted as saying:
“Clean sheet?” he told the Express
“I love football, I love my teams to play good football, I am a coach with a complete philosophy of attack."
And honestly, that is undeniably refreshing to hear.
Since Garry Monk, Swansea have had to deal with the dread of watching the likes of Guidolin, Bob Bradley and Paul Clement play defensive, frustrating football.
The Jack Army have been spoiled over the last decade for getting to watch fun, enjoyable, forward thinking football.
Attack is the best form of defence - that's what people say, right? Swansea this season have been defensively astute, and that back line is organised if nothing else. It may be the perfect mould for Carvalhal to build his reign upon - and get that attack to finally click.
He'll be looking at the team in its current state and thinking "I could do so much with this squad", and it's exciting - especially with January round the corner.
Now, just because Carvalhal has arrived, it doesn't mean survival is a given. By no means is it even expected - still, the large majority of people would agree that Swansea will probably go down.
But should the unspeakable happen, Carvalhal might have it in him to take them back up at the first time of asking. Look at what he did with Sheffield - a team who had achieved very little before his arrival.
️ CC on the challenge ahead:— Swansea City AFC (@SwansOfficial) December 28, 2017
"All jobs are tough, and this one is very hard, but I like a challenge and that is why I am here." pic.twitter.com/LKH1sUT9wi
Swansea have spent seven years in the Premier League, they've got top class training facilities, American owners who (seemingly) have money - whether or not that gets invested is another thing.
The bottom line is this - if Swansea stay up, brilliant! Carvalhal will likely stay, force the club to buy the players he wants, and rebuild his team, like the Swans were meant to last summer.
If relegation looms its ugly head, it isn't the end of the world. Carvalhal would most probably be the best man for the job should that happen anyway - might as well give him a few months to get used to the team before that happens.