Tailor-made suits, an air of confidence beaming with a lustrous mane, Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup could easily be mistaken for soccer’s very own 007 James Bond.
Laudrup’s verve and experience dates back to his playing days with Juventus, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Denmark. Laudrup remains one of the hottest prospect of the beautiful game, even years after he last kicked a ball in a competitive match.
The Swansea manager has spent the last few weeks quashing speculation linking him to the previous managerial vacancies at Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona.
Swansea’s catapult to the Premier League is nothing short of a fairytale. Flashback ten years ago and they were lying in the obscurity of the third division thanks to the bankruptcy they found themselves in. Next week however they will be playing in one of the highest echelons rubbing shoulders with the big boys of European Football. The Swans play Malmo in the Europa League on Thursday. How times change.
With Laudrup in charge, the Welsh side stepped up to find another gear last season, playing dazzling football with eye catching moves and flashes of brilliance overall.
Now with the addition of Ivory Coast striker Wilfried Bony, who signed from Vitesse Arnhem for a club record £12m, the Swans have a perfect player to complement Michu. While Jonjo Shelvey can be considered as a superb signing for £5m, Jonathan De Guzman’s yet another season-long loan has also been confirmed.
Laudrup, however, says he wants to add another chunk in his armor up front. With Bony and Michu taking up the attack, a different kind of a goal poacher up front would decisively turn matches on its head when required. Someone like a Shane Long who has good movement off the ball and pace on the turn would be a brilliant addition. Having said that though, Long isn’t the best of finishers. Twenty-one year old Northern Irish striker Rory Donnelly, who has impressed greatly in this summer’s preseason matches, might be used as an option from the squad. Udinese’s striker Matej Vydra might be a prospect for Laudrup’s loan bid and this would be an absolute steal given the Czech’s attacking prowess.
Last season, the Swansea flourished thanks to a superb cutting edge and ruthlessness in front of goal. While the wing backs were allowed to utilize spaces in and around the wingers, Michu as a false nine was used to great effect. De Guzman and Ki were superb in central midfield and this season with Shelvey in the mix, expect the Swans to play like Barcelona in a look-alike Real Madrid shirt. Pre season has been great as well, with a 5-1 win followed by a 2-0 stroll in the park against Exeter City. Nathan Dyer looks sharp already as the new signings look to grow familiar in Laudrup’s effective system. Reports also claim that the Dane is planning a £7m swoop for top Mexican centre-half Hector Moreno from cash strapped Espanyol.
Laudrup is the best asset that the Welsh side have in the current set up. He will not ask someone to play like a Messi or a Ronaldo, but he would ask to play a ten yard pass and that if mastered can lead to the optimum success as far the Swans are concerned.