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)!