Premier League 2013-14 preview: Swansea growing strength to strength under Laudrup
Swansea were heavily underrated last season, especially after the departure of Brendan Rodgers to Liverpool. Many pundits predicted the Swans will struggle while few even tipped them to get relegated as well.
Such fears further intensified with the departures of Joe Allen and Scott Sinclair while Steven Caulker and Gylfi Sigurdsson’s loans were not extended. But, Michael Laudrup has proved everyone wrong and guided the club to their major trophy last season and led them to Europe as well.
Actually, it is this structured way of managerial changes, keeping in vogue the spirit of playing beautiful football, that has led Swansea to this stage. Starting from Sousa, Martinez to Rodgers and now Laudrup, everyone has contributed to a huge extent for the development of this team and the club.
However, things could have gone horribly wrong for the Swans had the friction between Laudrup and Huw Jenkins, taken ugly turn, due to the pair reportedly clashed over the club’s lack of transfer activity.
Three players from La Liga were signed – Jordi Amat from Espanyol and Jose Canas and Alejandro Pozuelo from Real Betis – which leaves a huge Spanish contingent at the Liberty Stadium.
With the club holding on to Ashley Williams, the defence looks as organized as ever. Angel Rangel and Chico Flores were already there, further they are joined by the 21-year-old highly talented Amat, who came for a paltry fee of just £2.5 million.
The midfield has been bolstered with the capture of Jonjo Shelvey from Liverpool. The youngster couldn’t make a lasting impression at Anfield during his three-year-spell at the club. But, he is just 21 and has tremendous potential. Likewise, another young midfielder Pozuelo has been signed, and both should add enough depth to the side.
However the biggest signing of the season for the Swans has to be the Ivory Coast striker Wilfried Bony, signed from Vitesse Arnhem for £12.2 million. Last season, Swansea were too dependent on Michu to score goals for them, as none of the other player had reached the double figure mark in terms of scoring goals.
Bony has scored 31 goals in 30 games last season at the Eredivisie club and so far the signs are only encouraging, as he scored a brace and provided an assist in Swansea’s 4-0 rout over Malmo in the first leg of their Europa League third-round qualifier.
Michu played last season as their only forward, as he was deployed in the “false 9” role, but with the arrival of Bony, he would shift back to No 10, where he is equally comfortable. Laudrup will only hope to form a fearful partnership between Michu and Bony, and if that clicks, nightmares are waiting for top defenders across the league surely.