The trouble began late the night before last as rumours crept out that Stephen Caulker had been injured, rumours which were confirmed the following morning. Apparently, Caulker hurt his knee making that great goal-line clearance in the game against Arsenal, and has returned to Tottenham for treatment. That single peice of news would have been bad enough, and FIFA could have been Swansea's heroes if they had seen fit to approve the Swans deals for Rafik Halliche and Darnel Situ, either of which would have provided relief. Instead, they chose to play villains and stuck a second smiting on Swansea by blocking both moves.
Truthfully, I had not been expecting the Halliche deal to go through anyway; the player never left Fulham, the Swans never reported the transfer officially and Swansea encountered similar problems (i.e international clearance) with their aborted loan move for Burnley's David Edgar last January. The decision to block Situ's move, however, is baffling. The Swans reported the deal as done, Situ himself came to Swansea for the meet and greet and photo session and all indicators suggested the move would be cleared. At present, Swansea are still waiting for FIFA's official written notice of the block, and the Swans can decide to appeal the decision, so there remains a thin sliver of hope that one of the deals will yet be approved. After all, the FA, the FAW, the Premier League, the French Federation and the PFA have all backed the deal. So where's the problem?
Apparently, the deals weren't finalised before the end of the deadline, which makes me wonder exactly what goes on around the FIFA fax machine come 11pm on deadline day. I'd hate to think that something as mundane as a paper jam could wreak so much havoc on a single team. There is a chance Swansea could struggle mightily with so many injuries and without the cover those nullified transfers represent; if the domino effect of FIFA's failure to clear these transfers is that Swansea are relegated, then that becomes one expensive paper jam. No wonder IT guys are always so smug.
Despite having uttered the unutterable word (it begins with a R and featured in the last paragraph), I would like to think Swansea can rally round, show some heart and weather the storm. Club Captain Garry Monk is likely to show he deserves the armband by featuring in Saturday's game, despite not being 100% fit following injury. It's a risky move, since he could easily aggravate his injury and be sent straight back to the treatment room, which is starting to look like the first part of the stadium to need expansion.
Last week, when the Swans only had to contend with Alan Tate's injury (Remember the good old days?), there was talk Kemy Agustien could cover centre back if needs be. A fine plan, if Agustien weren't also injured. It is hard to imagine any of the other Swansea midfielders being similarly suited to the task; among a cast of the technical, the clever, the attacking and the mostly small there is precious little that would convince at the back. The team is even short of prospects at the position; recently departed midfielder Shaun MacDonald had to play there for the reserves already this season. You could almost argue that the player best suited to covering the position (i.e. big, good in the air, can tackle) is actually striker Danny Graham, but that really would be ridiculous. Wouldn't it? John Charles could play both positions equally well, after all.
It is easy to lay all the blame at FIFA's door for this mess, but when two important transfers are blocked because they were filed too late, you have to ask why the team left it til literally the last minute (and beyond) to pick up players they've been needing since the summer. The transfer window is two months long and yet, for the sake of a few minutes, the Swans season might now rest on a razor's edge. Probably the same razor FIFA use to cut their jammed fax machine paper off with.
Doom and gloom over, it's now time for that unsatisfying cheeseboard I promised you earlier. Yup, it's my Swansea City Performance Index for week four. I should point out that Michel Vorm isn't calculated in the PI because his statistical categories are completely different from the outfield players. I think it's enough to say that Vorm is Vorm and Vorm is brilliant.
Not much movement from last week; Rangels' dominance continues whilst Swansea's defence is well represented overall. It is easy to see how much Caulker will be missed. It's less easy to see how Swansea will cover his absence. It's going to be an interesting few days.
Follow ESPNsoccernet's Football Correspondents on Twitter