The 2012/13 season has proven to be a hugely successful one for Michael Laudrup’s Swansea after the former Denmark international took over at the Liberty Stadium in the summer and immediately continued on from where Brendan Rodgers left off.
Success came quickly at the beginning of the season, with Michu quickly cementing his place as one of the most revered strikers in the Premier League, and what’s even more astonishing, is that he was a relative unknown before playing in a Swansea shirt.
A top-half finish, lifting the League Cup at Wembley, qualifying for the Europa League, reporting a huge financial profit and solidifying their place as an established top-flight outfit, Swansea have really had a ball this year, but the question must be raised – can they continue their success next campaign?
We’ve seen a number of clubs take to the Premier League with storm, turning over big clubs and impressing everyone involved with England’s top-flight, Hull City’s exploits a few years back is a perfect example.
They took to the top division guns ablazing, at one point they were sitting top of the league, three points above Manchester United. Inevitably however, reality caught up with them, and their relegation was eventually sealed.
Laudrup will have to plan carefully if he is to avoid a similar story. Key players Michu, Ben Davies and Ashley Williams are already sought after by a number of heavy duty outfits on the world stage. The sale of some big names from the south Wales club will happen eventually, perhaps not this transfer window, but it’s inevitable.
What will play an important role in Swansea’s success is how they prepare for an deal with such happenings. Bulking up on big names worth millions of pounds has been done numerous times previously by almost every club in the Premier League, but one of the main reasons behind the Swans’ success in recent years is their reluctance to spend money at the drop of a hat.
Arsenal are closing in on defender Ashley Williams, even Laudrup himself has conceded he might not be able to keep him at the club, especially considering the money the London club are reportedly offering for the Wales international.
Laudrup brought in bargains like Michu last summer and he’ll need to do something similar again this year in order to keep the Swans moving, especially if they are to compete not only in the Premier League next campaign but in the next installment of the UEFA Europa League.
The transfer window has yet to open, but Laudrup has admitted the ball is already rolling at the Liberty Stadium. The search for new, untapped talent is on, and he’s hoping to be as successful as he was last August. “We started planning a couple of months ago,” he told Sky Sports. “So there’s a lot of work to do. We don’t have so much money compared to the rest of the teams so we have to do it like that [signing unknown bargains like Michu].
“But we’ll have to strengthen our team just to try to keep where we are right now, consolidate as a mid-team, because there are a lot of teams, bigger clubs, below us who will spend big money.”