Swans look to foreign shores in search for value signings
Swansea City 3 Stuttgart 3
MICHAEL Laudrup admits the record £15 million transfer fee Swansea City received for Joe Allen may soon be converted into euros.
Laudrup has revealed that he wants at least two-thirds of his Swansea players to be British.
But having signed two Spaniards, a Dutchman and an Israeli since taking the reins at the Liberty, the Dane admits he may be forced to go shopping overseas once again.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Swansea have more money at their disposal than ever before thanks to Premier League TV cash, the £5 million-plus they received in compensation for Brendan Rodgers and the record-breaking Allen fee.
But in Laudrup’s opinion, there may still not be enough in the Liberty coffers to sign players from elsewhere in the Premier League.
“Even if I am a foreigner, I always believe that two-thirds of the squad should be from Great Britain,” the Swansea manager explained.
“But the problem is that I would turn it around and say, what would a player who scored 15 goals playing in the Premier League as an offensive midfielder cost?
“I think it would be maybe double, treble or even four times the £2.5 million we paid for Michu.
“I am the first one to say that we have to be careful — it cannot always be a foreigner that we go for.
“But it’s about value for money. We need a player in Joe Allen’s position who can fit in to the way we play.
“Domestically, we have no chance with a player at one of the big clubs because they do not want to leave, and even at the other Premier League clubs, the players are very expensive.
“It is not easy to replace Joe Allen, but I am not saying that we need a player here today or tomorrow because the season starts next weekend.
“We still have some time before the transfer window closes and we will look at some names.
“We have to choose the right player, but I don’t know which passport he will have.”
Life after Allen, one of Swansea’s star performers in the last couple of seasons, began with an entertaining draw with Stuttgart on Saturday.
Swansea could have done with Allen’s composure and quality in midfield during a first half in which they struggled both to keep the ball and to smother the German side’s attacks.
But Laudrup’s team responded well after the break, fighting back to secure a positive result in their final warm-up game ahead of next weekend’s Premier League opener at Queens Park Rangers.
“Maybe the spectators liked seeing a lot of goals, but I wasn’t happy after the first half,” Laudrup said.
“But when things aren’t working well, you can learn. In the first half we gave away too much space.
“We were not well positioned, so Stuttgart could easily move the ball in midfield and out wide. We could have done better with all the goals they scored, but that’s why we are playing these games.
“And everybody can be pleased with them play in the second half — there was more tempo and it was much better.
“We were in much better positions when we had the ball and when we didn’t. We created chances, we scored three goals and it could have been four.”
Laudrup offered a wry smile as he considered the goal that got away, when Nathan Dyer danced round the goalkeeper but sliced his shot wide of a gaping net.
At least the miss came in a game that did not matter.
Dyer had been impressive otherwise, leading Swansea’s second-half revival alongside Danny Graham.
The home side had been sloppy in a worrying first period, when a couple of long-range Scott Sinclair efforts were about as good as it got.
A Stuttgart side featuring nine full internationals had looked the stronger outfit for the first 45 minutes, and took the lead when Germany cap Christian Gentner prodded home after Swansea had failed to deal with a free-kick.
“We have to do some work on set-pieces,” Laudrup conceded.
There were further scares — most notably when Tunay Torun struck a post — before Bosnian international striker Vedad Ibisevic was given time and space in the penalty area to roll home Stuttgart’s second.
Swansea climbed back into the contest when Michu fed Graham and the striker finished with minimal fuss, rolling the ball beyond former Germany Under-21 keeper Sven Ulreich.
The visitors were not happy, claiming Michu had got away with a foul before playing the killer pass, and they were soon moaning again as the assistant referee flagged for a penalty when Nathan Dyer tumbled under Cristian Molinaro’s challenge.
Graham continued his spectacular pre-season form by steering home from the spot, and Swansea made it three goals in 20 minutes when Dyer did well down the right before seeing his cross deflect into the net off Molinaro.
When the winger wasted that golden chance to finish Stuttgart off, they responded with an equaliser from substitute Raphael Holzhauser.
The Bundesliga side might have won it at the end, when Chico Flores got himself into a pickle but Cacau shot narrowly wide.
And so Swansea head for Loftus Road, when any mistake will matter.
“I am looking forward to fighting for points — hopefully we can get three or one but not zero,” Laudrup said.
Next Saturday marks the true beginning of the new manager’s reign, though he bats away talk of pressure.
“I have been under pressure since 1981,” he pointed out.
Still, a positive result on a ground where Swansea have always struggled would be a welcome start to the Laudrup era.