In keeping with their modus operandi to appoint young, hungry managers with a penchant for attractive football, Swansea City turned to Michael Laudrup as their manager when seeking a replacement for Brendan Rodgers who jumped shipped to Liverpool at the end of last season.
Laudrup will have a difficult job on his hands as he bids to avoid second season syndrome. The Danish legend has made some good early moves with his back room staff with the appointments of Kristian O’Leary and Alan Curtis. With his support team now in place Laudrup must now move on to his season task, replacing last season’s successful loan signings. One of those is defender Steven Caulker who has returned to Tottenham Hotspur while the highly sought Gylfil Sigurdsson also made his way to White Hart Lane following a stunning second half to the season.
Despite being a free agent at the time of his appointment, Laudrup spent the 2010-11 season in charge of Real Mallorca and that experience could mean he is likely to look to La Liga for new signings. Considering the success of recent imports from the Spanish league, his transfer policy may bode well for Swansea City as fans look to avoid second season syndrome.
Replacing Caulker will not be easy as the young defender enjoyed a good season at Swansea last year, making 26 league appearances. Laudrup is likely to make use of his Spanish contacts and my look to former club, Real Mallorca. Jose Manuel Flores, or “Chico”, is a centre back contracted to Italian side Genoa but spent last season on loan with Mallorca where he made 33 appearances. Genoa are thought to value the 25 year old around the £3 million mark, a figure Swansea should be able to meet after they received £5 million in compensation for Rodgers departure to Liverpool.
Alternatively, Swansea may look to sign a player with Premiership experience like James Collins who is entering the last year of his contract after contract talks broke down midway through last season. The 28 year old moved to Aston Villa for £5 million in 2009 although he is unlikely to command a similar fee despite being a first team regular when fit. His bright start at Villa has been somewhat overshadowed by his recent disciplinary problems and patchy form. Collins has been fined by the club twice in the past two seasons for drunken incidents at a Leicestershire health spa and a Birmingham nightclub.
Laudrup will need to beef up Swansea’s defensive options ahead of the new season and could bid for Nottingham Forest full back Chris Gunter, 22. Forest will want to squeeze as big a transfer fee as possible from their defender who only has a year left to run on his current contract. Reading have already tabled a £2 million bid which was rejected by Forest who bought the defender for £1.75 million from Tottenham Hotspur in July 2009. A considerable increase on the fee will be necessary to pry the 37 cap Welsh international from Nottingham Forest. Interest in Gunter is high with Aston Villa joining Reading as admirers of the Welshman.
In midfield, Swansea will be well aware that winger Scott Sinclair is coveted by several premiership clubs. Jonathan De Guzman, the Canadian born Dutch international, played for Laudrup at Mallorca in 2010-11 before moving to Villareal for £6.5 million last year.
After missing out on Sigurdsson, Swansea are looking for an attacking midfielder who could also contribute goals and the former Feyenoord midfielder De Guzman could fit the bill. Villareal, relegated in May, are looking to cut costs ahead of a season in Spain’s second division and have valued De Guzman at £8 million. Although Swansea will not be able to pay such a large fee for one player, they may look to taking him on loan initially and address the situation at the end of next season.
Swansea may look to Euro 2012 star, Michael Krohn-Deli who is known to be keen to play in the premiership and would give them more ptions within their squad. The 29 year old winger has a year left on his contract with Danish side Brondby and has stated his desire to leave and play his football elsewhere with French side Evian known to be interested in the Danish international. Krohn-Deli is understood to prefer linking up with fellow Dane Michael Laudrup at Swansea. Frenchman Edouard Duplan is another possible target for Laudrup as he seeks to build his squad. The winger, 29, who plays for FC Utrecht in Holland, was voted best player of the season by the club’s supporters. Utrecht are looking to move the player on as he only has a year left to run on his current contract.
Up front, Swansea will want to bolster their forward line and could look to Simon Cox, the West Bromwich Albion forward. Cox, 25, only started seven games last season and is likely to be allowed to leave for £3.5 million. Nicklas Bendtner, the Arsenal forward wants to leave the Emirates and could well be persuaded to join Laudrup at Swansea. Danish international, Bendtner, 24, sees himself as a world class striker and would prefer a club that can offer Champions League football.
Manchester City youngster, John Guidetti spent last season on loan at Feyenoord scoring 20 goals in 23 games. The 20 year old Swedish forward would benefit from gaining first team premiership experience which he is unlikely to get at City. Guidetti would only be available for a loan deal which would make him an affordable option.