​Last season was a dark one for anyone affiliated with Swansea City. Throughout the campaign, it became increasingly apparent that the club had become disconnected from the identity it had established in its six prior seasons in the top flight. 


In fact, that identity had been slowly slipping since Garry Monk's 2015 departure. And while Paul Clement was briefly able to revitalise the club, steering them to safety in the 2016/17 season, his departure in December meant it was the third consecutive season the Swans would change their manager before the new year.

Cardiff City v Reading - Sky Bet Championship

Such frequent, if often necessary, changes meant that there would be no new Brendan Rodgers or Roberto Martinez at ​Swansea. No one would be able to restore the brand of attractive, 20 passes at a time, flowing football that saw them rocket from League Two to top half ​Premier League finishes in just eight years. But after a seven-year stay in the top flight, having spent the last two flirting with the drop, their relegation from the Premier League finally came. 


Relegation served as an indictment to those making the decisions at the club - a clear notice that something had to change, and the right appointment had to be made, as the club entered the uncharted territory of attempting to bounce back to the top flight.


In their position, a safe managerial appointment would have made logistical sense, having just watched Sunderland suffer back to back relegations to League One. But Swansea wanted to restore their identity with something ambitious - an appointment for the long-term. 


And that's where Graham Potter enters, stage left.

Swansea City Training

Potter's achievements managing in Sweden have been well documented. 


For those not in the picture, though, he took Ostersunds from the fourth division and established them in the top flight, winning a domestic cup in the process and taking them into Europe, where they famously battled Arsenal last season. A Scandinavian Swansea, if you will. 


With fellow relegated side ​Stoke opting to appoint established Championship manager Gary Rowett, and W​est Brom sticking with Darren Moore, the appointment of Potter was an early statement that they intended to do things differently than their rivals. 

While the appointment sparked optimism, however, it was an educated gamble. Whether he was the man with the attributes to successfully negotiate the oncoming tide of a transition from Premier League into ​Championship football remained to be seen.


So far, however, the signs for Potter at Swansea are all green.


What's perhaps most striking about their deceptively impressive, undefeated start to the season, is the strength of mentality he has created to get results in what is a very young squad.

Swansea City v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship

He has a squad of 23 players at his disposal, six of which are youngsters from the youth system who have featured either sporadically, or in some cases not at all, for the first team previously.


The likes of Connor Roberts, Oli McBurnie, Jay Fulton and Joe Rodon have so far shone in first team roles, with McBurnie in particular showing that he has the potential to be an excellent goalscorer in the years to come.


In terms of his ​transfer business,out have gone the likes of Jordi Amat, Ki Sung-yong and Borja Baston with outgoings totalling around £45m. 


They have been replaced with hungry young players who have already made their mark on the Championship - in Barrie McKay, Bersant Celina and Joel Asoro among others - at a fraction of the price. 

And while they have kept hold of a strong core of Premier League quality players - Wilfried Bony, Leroy Fer and Jefferson Montero are expected to remain at the club beyond the summer - they have been forced to operate without many of these players due to injuries so far, and have not once looked out of their depth.


It is perhaps that they have managed to avoid overhauling the squad completely that is to thank for their positive start to the season. 


Two wins and two draws, the latter of which against Marcelo Bielsa's scintillating ​Leeds, have shown that Potter's Swans have cohesion on their side, and that they have what it takes to fight it out against anyone in what is one of European football's most competitive divisions.

Stoke City, by comparison, spent near £40m on players, and have picked up two points to Swansea's eight, demonstrating just how difficult it is to get it right with a new squad in the early stages of the Championship season. 


It's no secret that the Championship is no easy division to get out of. Only five clubs in the last 10 years have managed to bounce back at the first time of asking, while four have suffered back to back relegations in that time. 


The one negative in Swansea's recent efforts to become number six, is that the football on show so far hasn't been as free-flowing as you'd expect from the Swans in their prime. 

However, even the best sides don't win 3-0 every week. Swansea, so far, have shown that they have the required edge to their game to get results when things aren't all going their way; and it is that, above all, that wins championships.


Results are what matter early on. With the confidence growing with every point, and key players returning from injury, we can expect to see Swansea start to dominate games - and possession - sooner rather than later. 


Graham Potter and his team still have a lot to prove, but we can say, definitively, that they have laid the foundations for a strong push back to the Premier League, both in their results and in their personnel. 

Swansea City v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship

Swansea fans can once again go and watch a team of young, exciting players, who know how to win.