Last year, despite our respective affiliations, many Premier League fans started to fall in love with Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup. At least a little bit.
How could you not?
The Dane came to South Wales last June and within eight months –
- Added a sprinkling of low-cost, high-value transfers (Michu (£2m), Jonathan De Guzman (loan), Chico Flores (£2m), Ki Sung-Yeung (£6m), Pablo Hernandez (£5.5m))
- Sold want-away players who were getting too big for their britches for incredible value (Joe Allen (£15m), Scott Sinclair (£8m))
- Was smashing teams by the first week of the season (5-0 over QPR in Matchweek 1 and 3-0 over West Ham in Matchweek 2), and
- Was hoisting the League Cup (and claiming the first spot in the Europa League) by late February.
All that was accomplished, of course, by taking the entertaining style of play imposed by past managers (Roberto Martinez and Brendan Rodgers) and make it straight up intoxicating. In footballing parlance, it was what we call a master-stroke.
But with the good comes the bad and for Swansea supporters, the ‘bad’ set in shortly after the 5-0 thrashing of Bradford City when rumors began to fly of the interest that high-profile clubs had in Laudrup. The rumors weren’t unexpected. Most everyone could see that the man who starred as a player for European giants Juventus, Lazio, Barcelona and Real Madrid, would someday be doing the same as a manager. It was only a matter of time.
To his credit, Laudrup pledged his short term desire to stay at Swansea with the caveat that, within a season or two, he would be moving to a bigger club. Fair play.
But the rumors kept coming. Speculation grew. And within the last two weeks, Laudrup has begun to voice his concern over the amount of money that Swansea owner, Huw Jenkins, is willing to pony up for transfers.
Things took a turn for the worse yesterday when Jenkins and the rest of the Swansea board cut ties with Laudrup’s agent, Bayram Tutumlu, who was allegedly trying to dictate the club’s transfer policy. Tutumlu said –
[Swansea Chairman Huw Jenkins] wants to bring in players who do not have the quality for Michael Laudrup. . . . Huw Jenkins has paid me nothing, but I have spent a lot to try to bring players to Swansea.
In an attempt the quell the situation, Laudrup made the following statements –
Bayram is my agent and that’s not going to change. If the club do not want to work with him or Bayram does not want to work with them, it’s their problem not mine. . . . The only thing I care about is to have the best players possible at Swansea who are within range of the economy of the club.
Again I must say that my intention is to stay – I have repeated it so many times in the last three months.
The only thing I am interested in is having the best players at Swansea within the budget that is possible. . . . That’s what I have been fighting for every day, last year when I arrived and this year as well. That will always be the most important thing for me wherever I end up in the future.
Ugly stuff, no doubt. But is it enough to end Laudrup’s tenure at the Liberty? Probably not, although Tutumlu seems completely hell-bent on making it happen.
There’s also the possibility, however, that this is all part of Laudrup’s exit plan to free himself for that aforementioned big-time managerial move. But to where?
I heard there may be a vacancy in Madrid.
But, if that doesn’t work, Paris could be quite nice as well.