Tuesday 4 June 2013

Swansea City spending: Now is the time!

THERE are big question marks over Laudrup's future because of his urge to spend, spend, spend. In this carefully considered blog post, MATTHEW JACOB outlines why now is probably the best time for Swansea City to back the Dane and move forward.

As is customary at this time of year, the transfer merry-go-round creaks into life bringing with it speculation, intrigue and controversy. It's why we love football isn't it? And we have good reason to be excited by what the summer might bring.

By all accounts Michael Laudrup is planning a busy few months, yet following our final day showing against Fulham I left the Liberty Stadium in melancholy fashion. Yes, it's been a superb year no doubt, and yes I stayed for the well-deserved lap of honour, but having created so many chances during the game and failing to convert a single one, it left a sour taste.

It should have sent a message to everyone at the club that, despite all the success, the squad will require investment to remain competitive in a league where almost every team will be looking to strengthen, namely the sides who had a relegation scare this season, and especially the top six.

So, with Premier League status assured, and European football on offer in SA1 next year, has there ever been a better time for Huw Jenkins and the board to invest some of our hard earned money and bring in the players Laudrup requests to take us to the next level?

There's an argument that Swansea have been in this position before, following the first rise to the top flight. Spending on the squad and bigger contracts inevitably led to the financial meltdown that has defined that fall from grace. Results and poor form played their part but those financial difficulties began a slide that ultimately led to the club being sold for a £1 and being one result away from potential oblivion.

Swansea City came through and Huw Jenkins has always maintained that the club will never ever spend beyond its means again and of course I support that mantra wholeheartedly. For the board, and the fans, the welfare of the club takes precedent above everything, and rightly so.

Despite the need for careful consideration, my feeling is that the board have been presented with a unique opportunity to move Swansea City forward and secure the future of this club not just financially, but professionally in the top flight by acquiring the right players to take us forward. We may never compete for the title (never say never!) and I can't imagine we'll ever have the financial muscle the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea enjoy, yet can we not be ambitious?

With the pull of a footballing legend in Michael Laudrup, the style and quality of the players already here and European football into the bargain, all the ingredients are here for an exciting future. I believe there are a number of real quality players who would be quite willing to come to south Wales for a crack at the 'best' league in the world.

To bring in real quality there comes a cost - it is unavoidable, and what the board and Laudrup do in the next 11 or so weeks before the football season kicks off once more will go a long way to showing us what kind of ambition the board have. Will they choose to back the Great Dane in the transfer market as they allegedly promised to do? Or will they choose to keep a tight hand on the purse strings and hope Laudrup can find another Michu or Chico to push us forward? My hope is that he can spend some money on a couple of his preferred transfer targets AND uncover another gem. It's a lot to ask though

So we may be presented with the choice - move forward or stand still?

I took to Twitter to gauge fan feelings on this and got a fairly mixed response. There were those who want to see us back Laudrup to the hilt, partly because he has earned that backing, partly because they want to see the squad improved, and partly to keep the Dane with us! There were those who urged caution, that we should invest in youth with the hope of building a team for the future from within, and there were those who felt we were only in need of 'one, maybe two' players.

Me personally? I want to see investment in the squad before other plans (such as expanding the stadium) are considered. I'm not suggesting at the expense of the clubs financial stability, but now is our time, and Laudrup deserves the opportunity to build the squad as he sees fit.

Swansea City have worked hard to build a reputation based on style, and for that reputation to be retained along with the club's top flight status we must not neglect substance and strength. They must go hand in hand, and with a gruelling season ahead, I feel we must act quickly to ensure we push on.
Enjoy the summer (if you can)!


  1. Nice little discussion piece that rightly points to the mixed views around, but in my opinion comes to the right conclusion. The history is interesting. Yes, the Swans were unwise to agree some contracts with star players, but one could argue that relegation came because the squad was too thin and we failed to strengthen. Alan C in 'Curt' writes:'Compared with previous years, the 1982 close season was relatively quiet on the transfer front, with the only signing being [a young and free] Dean Saunders coming in on a full-time contract'. Critical injuries like the one to Colin Irwin left us stretched to breaking point and the inevitable happened. I struggle to see how some use this as justification for the argument that we should not invest now.

    1. Thanks for the comment - Matt makes a good argument as do you.

      Swansea will never (we hope) become a club that spend £30m on a player "just because he's that player", but may sometimes be a little too thrifty. Whatever happens at least 5 or 6 new players need to come in to avoid being overstretched this season, especially with European football looming!

    2. with the players laudrup can attract we should invest look what the guy has done there are really good players who would take a cut in pay just to play for him the players he has brought in michu say no more some people don't like hernandez but his stats r the best out of the wingers....de guzman ki and the fans fav chico come on Jenkins the money is rolling in you don't have to go mad but I reckon the minimum of 4 for the start of a very hard and long campaign

  2. It is no accident that the Swans are where they are today because firstly, having a desire to succeed; and secondly at the subconscious level in having the instinct to be cautious in an attempt to avoid failure at all costs. Costs being the keyword, and what it really comes down to is this. How much of a risk is one willing to take at the expense of possible failure? Michael Laudrup believes as I have read recently that to improve we need to spend and spend; but the key to the clubs success to date was not built upon this philosophy but rather playing great entertaining football. This is Swansea City and Huw Jenkins and the board (including the fans) have done a wonderful job in achieved what some considered as the impossible for a club the size of ours here in Swansea. I think it is unfair that any outside influences should interference and speculate or even suggest what could or should be done to improve with the risk factor to high or not even to be contemplated. Why take risks when you are a success already? Therefore, I believe the policies and philosophies we have in place now should continue because it has brought us to where we are today. We are up there among the very best in the world and negotiation's should continue with the best interest of the club and always at the forefront of any decision made. The has been done to the great success of the club and the credit go to all those who have help to bring this about. Risk is not an option and the club I believe will always focus on this issue no matter who have been employed. We don't know the whole matters on what is going on behind the scenes, however, there is much talk with negative overtones that isn't doing the club, players and fans any good at all. Stick with what we have and allow the club's decision maker decision what is best for everyone concerning the club and the people of Swansea who are the life of this great city. Everyone is make to feel welcome and at home when they arrive, and when they leave they take a little bit of Swansea culture with them which they tell others about. The club doesn't need pressure for outsiders because we have succeeded without them to date and long may that continue.

  3. Something which I couldn't understand is that HJ spoke himself spoke of bringing 4-5 new players in the summer but was he then thinking of some league players of £100.000 each?

  4. agree we cant keep looking in the bargain bucket for the next michu-weve been lucky once but it wont happen again--we have come too far to risk failing for the sake of say 20m in transfers--we should(and i mean should )have money to spend so lets back our manager and push on as far as we can without being reckless..come on jenkins cough up or risk losing everything

    1. I agree 100%. We got money to bring players in which has been stated out loud for sometime now. So what's all the fuss about? There is much gossip out there simply to rock the Swansea City boat!

  5. Cheers for the comments guys, I knew this topic would spark some conversation. It's a hard one, but I reckon spending a good sum on some good players is not too much to ask. Not saying go out and buy Torres, but the bargain bucket (thanks Martin!) doesn't always produce Michus.

  6. I'm from Denmark and I started following and silently supporting Swansea after Laudrup arrived. In Denmark the people are talking about whether or not Laudrup has difficulties working with boards in smaller clubs since these kinds of conflicts have taken place in every club he has managed: Getafe, Spartak Moskva, Mallorca and now Swansea. In all these clubs Laudrup had a transfer policy conflict with the bosses which resulted in him leaving the club before his contract had expired. So my theory is that even though Laudrup says one thing in the media his ambitions are always bigger than the small clubs he manages. Which is annoying because he is always raving about how he doesn't want to manage a top club. It seems as if Swansea City are content with staying in the league next season while Laudrup wants to improve. So in my opinion the conflict might evolve around ambitions and not just money. If I didn't care whether or not the club ends no. 16 or no. 10 I wouldn't spend a lot of money either. I think Laudrup cares though.


    PS. Sorry for any bad English :)

    1. Good English and good comment there thanks!

      It could be an ambition thing and I understand his frustration. I think Swansea are an ambitious club, but still need to ensure their future in the Premier League is long term.

      It will take a few years to start pushing for consistently higher places I reckon, something Laurdup will probably not be around to see.