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Swansea City plan for life with - and without - Michael Laudrup

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: February 07, 2013

Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup

Comments (9)

SWANSEA City simply have to accept that their star performers will be wanted by bigger clubs.

And when bigger clubs want someone who is on the books at a smaller club, they usually get their man.

That, Huw Jenkins concedes, is the way it is in football.

He saw it with Brendan Rodgers last summer, and then with Joe Allen.

Before that he saw it with Roberto Martinez, who left the Liberty Stadium to join Wigan Athletic.

The Latics may not be considered 'bigger' than Swansea these days, but in 2009 they were in the Premier League while the club Martinez left behind were in the Championship.

There have been plenty of other examples in the Jenkins era — Dorus de Vries, Jason Scotland, Lee Trundle, Andy Robinson — of Swansea employees moving on because they felt their careers would be better served elsewhere.

Invariably, of course, there were pay rises involved and, if these things come down to cash, Swansea cannot compete with the clubs at the top-end of the game.

There are other factors — Rodgers and Allen, for instance, no doubt felt they were more likely to land silverware at Anfield than they were in Wales.

After more than a decade in the boardroom, Swansea's chairman has come to accept that inevitably, players and coaches who impress in SA1 will be tempted to move on.

"At a club like Swansea City we cannot hide from the fact that if we are successful, and we play football in the fashion that we enjoy, we will get a lot of plaudits," Jenkins says.

"The way we do things makes us very attractive to bigger clubs, whether you are talking about players or managers.

"We have to accept that — that what we do as a club makes us more attractive to others.

"What we have to do as a result is make sure we are one step ahead of everybody else."

That means Swansea's owners have to think about how they might replace a manager even when their current boss is in place and doing a good job.

There is also a need to have a list of potential new signings in mind just in case one of their key players is lured from the Liberty.

And it means working hard to ensure contracts are not allowed to run down, for Swansea then risk losing their assets for less then their value, or even for nothing if deals are allowed to expire.

Hence Jenkins has been busy sorting out new terms for a number of senior figures on the Swansea playing staff in recent weeks.

And hence the Swansea hierarchy are keen for Michael Laudrup to follow the likes of Michu and Leon Britton by putting pen to paper on an extension to his contract.

Laudrup only committed to Swansea for two seasons when he agreed to take the reins from Brendan Rodgers.

But with everything running smoothly for both parties to date, the club want to extend the agreement by a further 12 months.

"I think it's the right thing, for us and for Michael, to make sure if we can that he has another two seasons after this one on his contract," Jenkins adds.

"That has to be the first step. It will give us a bit of stability and it will provide security as well when players are joining us in the summer."

Jenkins must have known when he studied Laudrup's CV last summer that the Dane was never likely to become a fixture in these parts.

Laudrup, after all, lasted only one season at Getafe before resigning and he spent just seven months at Spartak Moscow.

And in his last job, at Real Mallorca, Laudrup departed in the opening weeks of his second campaign at the helm.

Only in his first managerial post, at Brondby, has Laudrup put down any roots, having managed the club where he emerged as a player for four seasons.

It would be a surprise if he lasts that long at Swansea.

Laudrup said on the day he was unveiled last June that there was no chance of him being a manager within a decade, never mind him still being Swansea's boss.

Encouragingly, perhaps, he has suggested that he is not interested in going on to take charge at one of the top clubs because he has already been there during his playing career.

And there is no doubt Laudrup is enjoying a rare chance to spend some money in the transfer market — and on players of his choice.

That is not a luxury he has enjoyed often in his spell as a coach.

Laudrup has stated that he is savouring his first crack at the Premier League, so Swansea are optimistic that he will agree to a contract extension.

If Laudrup does end up sticking around — and taking the club forward as he has done so far — for three years, Swansea will be delighted.

They have been forced into plenty of managerial changes in recent times, and a spell of relative stability would be welcome.

Swansea did not want to lose Martinez, and they were not keen for Rodgers to go when Liverpool came calling.

But Jenkins has seen enough in his spell on the board of directors to know that Swansea cannot pin all their hopes on Laudrup sticking around.

"We are all experienced enough to know that nobody knows what's around the corner in football," he says.

"We have all learnt that as supporters of Swansea City over the past few years.

"And so while we are looking to get things tied up with Michael, we are also very clear about what football is like these days."

Perhaps the best plan for Swansea's followers is to enjoy Laudrup while he lasts.

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  • CroJack  |  February 07 2013, 5:29PM

    GowerHooker, what are you talking about? Name one so called primadona in our squad. Even Danny Graham, who wanted to leave, didn't act as primadona. He acted professionally til the end of the transfer window. Odemwingie, Modric, Ronaldo, Rooney, Wallcott...are primadonas because they all tried to force their clubs either to sell them or to give them impoved contracts. There is nothing wrong for a club like Swansea to buy cheap and sell expensive. That's why we are not going to end like Portsmouth. Football players have their dreams, some of them dream about winning Premier League or playing in Champions League. Nothing wrong with that. As long as they perform while they are here, and give 100 % for Swansea, we have to let them go. And if we can earn a lot of money by selling them and secure our future as a club - we have to be happy, it is a win-win situation.

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  • slagheap  |  February 07 2013, 1:21PM

    GowerHooker In a democracy there is something called free movement of labour.Any one of us is allowed to change our employment if we deem it advantageous to ourselves.Perhaps you have been able to stay with your current employer all your working life,or like the majority of us have changed employers a number of times. Sportsmen and Women are no different they are perfectly entitled to change employers if it is to their advantage ,it is the way of the World in all walks of life.

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  • Philosoraptor  |  February 07 2013, 12:49PM

    Swansea has something that not many other clubs have, and for a smaller club, it is probably the only one to have, managers who come here will now be open to changing their own style to fit the club. They can see that our philosophy is successful and you won't find many managers trying to break a fixed ship, I trust our board would be able to filter out those who would not tow the Swansea line. For instance, I can easily imagine the Swans board ignoring applicants like Harry Redknapp and Tony Pulis who would try to change our game to match their own.

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  • MM1958  |  February 07 2013, 11:02AM

    It should be noted of the current Premier League's 20 teams only Man Utd, Arsenal and Everton have long term managers, next come Stoke and then Wigan, who have had their managers 5 and 4 years respectively. 8 of the remaining sides have had a a new manager every 2 seasons or so approximately, Man City, Sunderland, West Ham, Norwich, Fulham, Newcastle, Southamton, Reading, then you have Spurs, Liverpool, West Brom, Aston Villa, QPR, Then we have Chelsea who seem to change manager every 6 or 8 mionths. All in All I think Swansea are doing well and Huw Jenkins is obviously doing his job well, If the Swans can hold onto Michael Laudrup for 3 seasons we will be moving into the realms of longterm manager for Premier League sides and for the Swans It's not all doom and gloom as we all now. Luckily over the last 10 years its been about improving on and off the field and it seems to be working. So lets all keep enjoying the good times, which if the last few years experiences and improvements are anything to go by, are here for a long beven if the faces sometimes change. STID

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  • swanseaola  |  February 07 2013, 11:01AM

    GowerHooker: Your comments do not apply to those rugger players who go and seek the Gallic air do they!

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  • swanseaola  |  February 07 2013, 10:55AM

    I have said it before on these comments site:Enjoy the moment. ML is taking the Swans to new heights...........ENJOY. HJ is quite rightly thinking post moment but lets enjoy!

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  • Lukebenj  |  February 07 2013, 10:01AM

    one of the many bonuses of this "sad little game" is that its entertaining. Much unlike Rugby that stops every 30 seconds and is popular in under 10 countries around the world. I know it must break your heart, but with the growth of the 2 major welsh football clubs Rugby is increasingly becoming the slightly retarded step brother of a sport in the south Wales every year. Chin up though eh.

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  • morton1947  |  February 07 2013, 9:52AM

    Although I agree totally with Gower Hookers feelings it is unfortunately the name of the game and one that we as a Club have to tolerate. Let's be thankful that Huw Jenkins has always had the foresight to bring in the right man when and if the time comes as he proved with the departures of Martinez, Sousa, and Rodgers. The main thing is that the club is moving in the right direction and after enjoying such dark times only a few years ago when we nearly went out of the league the lessons have been learned and there is way that weould ever want to go back there. The thing is that played Manages will, in the main, always think that the grass on the other side is always greener, but they have often been proved very wrong in that assumption. I for one now take things in my stride after supporting the club that I have loved for over 50 years and it is my wish that we continue to enjoy the fantastic momentum and achievements that we have made in the last few years for many more years to come.

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  • GowerHooker  |  February 07 2013, 9:37AM

    A sad illustration of one of the many faults of this sad little 'game'. There is absolutely no loyalty and it all revolves around how much cash an individual can shove in his pockets. I'm not saying that this problem is peculiar to soccer, it is apparent that some Rugby players feel the same, but thankfully, for the time being, the Ospreys at least do have a core of good players who are committed to the region. If I was a fan I'd think twice about handing over my hard earned cash to a bunch of prima donnas who are using the club as a stepping stone to get to one of the bigger clubs - that is an absolute disgrace. It seems to me that the bigger clubs are allowing the likes of Swansea to do all the running around finding 'talent' and bringing them to the UK and after a season or two, when they have been assessed, the big club swoops in. Swansea takes all the risk and ultimately have a bunch of players who are not looking at staying at the Liberty for any length of time. They have no loyalty to the fans. There will come a point when some of the risks will not pay off. The only saving grace is that at least they do have to perform whilst at the Swans to attract the big clubs. If that is what the manager is doing too then I am sad to say that the good fortunes will end; there will come a point when there isn't a well respected manager available, results will take a dip and then it may be a slippery slope down the leagues again. The way to address most problems is through strong leadership and it is here that I will suggest that Steve Tandy is making his mark. At least Mr Jenkins and his team are keeping their feet on the ground, it sounds like they have a plan and I hope for the sake of the city that they continue to perform well.

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