Swansea City gamble by letting Danny Graham leave for Sunderland
SWANSEA City have gambled on fitness and form by allowing Danny Graham to join Sunderland without signing a replacement.
Graham's protracted transfer to the North East had been simmering throughout January, so it was no surprise he ended up completing a £5 million move to the Black Cats on Thursday.
But there have been a few eyebrows raised at Swansea's decision not to compensate for his loss by adding another striker to their squad.
After all, Graham was Swansea's top scorer last season when he netted 14 times in all competitions.
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And only Michu has contributed more than his seven goals this term.
Graham was Brendan Rodgers's first-choice frontman in Swansea's debut Premier League campaign, but had slipped down the pecking order this season.
Still, his contribution since switching to South Wales from Watford 18 months ago was significant.
The 27-year-old managed 21 strikes in 62 matches at Swansea, more than a goal every three games.
That is a solid if not spectacular return — but the stats of those who remain at the Liberty are not all so healthy.
Luke Moore's has weighed in with just a Capital One Cup brace against Barnsley in 12 outings under Michael Laudrup.
His 22 appearances last season yielded only three goals and he has found the back of the net eight times in 51 games at Swansea.
The former Aston Villa man has never been prolific, roughly averaging a goal every seven games throughout his career.
Itay Shechter has yet to find the net at Swansea and also has a less than impressive overall strike rate.
Leroy Lita is on loan at Sheffield Wednesday, meaning the only other striker in the first-team squad is Rory Donnelly.
The teenager has featured only once, having arrived from semi-professional football 18 months ago so appears to be some way from making an impact at senior level.
That just leaves Michu, who has been an undisputed revelation since agreeing a £2.2 million switch from Rayo Vallecano last summer.
His 16 strikes have helped propel Swansea up to eighth in the Premier League and into the Capital One Cup final.
While Laudrup has often opted to rotate his squad this season, the Spaniard has featured more regularly than most.
If he were to suffer injury, there would be real concerns about Swansea's firepower.
And the 26-year-old is arguably more suited to an advanced attacking midfield role behind the striker.
Swansea have often operated outside convention in recent seasons — and that has largely been the secret of their success.
While others have opted to appoint experienced household names as managers, Swansea have plumped for hungry young bosses to spearhead their progress.
They have also gazed beyond the British transfer merry-go-round when it comes to signing players, preferring instead to look further afield for hidden gems without the inflated price tags.
It is thought that Laudrup enquired about players of that ilk this time around, with Sevilla's Manu and Senegalese forward Moussa Konate apparently on his radar.
But ultimately no-one arrived at the Liberty on transfer deadline day.
And that leaves Swansea one setback away from a serious headache.