Michael Laudrup admits Swansea City face major transfer market problem
MICHAEL Laudrup admits Swansea City are facing a transfer market headache this summer because all the bargains are abroad.
Romelu Lukaku, Chelsea's Belgian international striker, is the latest player to be linked with a close-season switch to the Liberty as Swansea prepare for battle on four fronts next season.
He joins the likes of Iago Aspas, Jose Canas and Alberto Botia in being touted as possible summer arrivals.
They are all players Laudrup admires — but that does not mean they will all end up in SA1.
There are rules over the shape of squads in the Premier League which Swansea must consider.
Every club must have at least eight homegrown players — those who have been produced by English or Welsh clubs — in their squads of 25.
Swansea have no problem meeting that regulation as it stands, but they are getting closer to the limit all the time.
On top of the domestic rules, Swansea are currently waiting to discover exactly what criteria they must meet to take part in the Europa League.
And that means Laudrup may have to think twice before signing another batch of foreign players.
"I have said to the club that there will always be a problem when you are one of the clubs with less economic potential at this level," said the Swansea manager.
"You can have two years in mid-table and you can win a trophy, but it doesn't make it any easier.
"If you are going to buy a British player then you will have to pay much more money.
"That doesn't just happen here — it's the same in Spain or Italy. When you have to buy a national player they will cost more money than international players.
"If you have two players at the same level, one from overseas is £3 million and the other one is £8 million, then who do you choose?
"You are not stupid so you say the one who is £3 million, but every time it is the same so what do you do?"
Swansea's current squad currently includes 12 senior players who are 'homegrown', but the number is dropping all the time.
It could dip further this summer should the likes of Mark Gower and Leroy Lita move on and, for all the value available in overseas transfer markets, Swansea must look to replenish stocks when it comes to players developed on these shores.
"So then you say you can take some players from the lower leagues, but are they good enough now to come into the Premier League?" Laudrup added.
"We're at a certain level. It is one thing if Swansea are playing in the Championship to take another player from the Championship, but you have to pay too much in the Premier League.
"You can't risk too much by signing too many players from the lower leagues because you end up getting relegated.
"It's not easy. Say we want a British player but then Newcastle or Sunderland or whoever want him as well. Then they pay £3 million more and we are out of the running.
"Every time it's the same, so when we find someone we have to do it quickly.
"We still have numbers at the moment, but it's a warning for the future."
Laudrup admits the riddle of how to get good-quality domestic players to Swansea in the future will not be an easy one to solve.
"Look at the players who were sold last season — Scott Sinclair and Joe Allen. They were British but we had to bring in foreigners.
"The players who have come in have done well, but that is not my point here.
"My point is that to replace British players with British players will cost you a lot of money.
"The only alternative to not paying a high cost is to take less quality, so it's a problem."
Swansea have had huge recent success in the top flight with players who once operated at the bottom level.
But Laudrup added: "Players likes Ashley Williams, Leon Britton and Angel Rangel came up through the divisions with this team.
"The problem is if you go and find another Ashley Williams in League One now, could he go straight in and play in the Premier League?
"Could someone from the bottom end of the Championship strengthen our team now?
"We have to strengthen our team every year, but it will be even more difficult if the players who leave are British."