Swansea City boss Michael Laudrup set for left-back search
MICHAEL Laudrup is ready to scour Europe for a free agent left-back after Neil Taylor was ruled out for the season.
Taylor fractured and dislocated his ankle in three places during Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Sunderland.
The loss of Taylor, who has been consistently impressive on the left flank of defence since Swansea were promoted to the Premier League, is a heavy blow to Laudrup’s plans for the campaign ahead.
Ben Davies did a fine job of filling in for Taylor after the Welsh international was treated for five minutes on the pitch and then stretchered off while receiving oxygen following a challenge on Craig Gardner.
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But Laudrup believes Swansea cannot rely on 19-year-old youth product Davies, who made only his third senior appearance against Sunderland.
“Neil’s injury is serious first of all for him as a person and a player,” said the Swansea manager.
“One second you are out on the pitch running and playing, then suddenly you are out.
“You are talking a long time before Neil returns to the game, and we will have do something.
“We only have one left-back now and he is only 19, so we will see what we can do.
“Ben did well in pre-season and he did great against Sunderland, but he is 19 — you can’t put so much responsibility on his shoulders.
“We can’t go out and buy someone, but we need someone. We will have to wait and see what possibilities we have.
“What happens if Ben gets an injury or a little flu or whatever? We need an extra player.”
Laudrup admits he does not yet know what options Swansea might have as they attempt to find a player who is currently unattached but has the ability to play in the Premier League.
If Swansea do not find a new face, they must go with what they have got until the next transfer window opens in January.
As well as Davies, Laudrup has the option of playing Alan Tate at left-back or switching Angel Rangel to the left flank of his rearguard.
Swansea’s head physio Kate Rees confirmed last night: “The surgeons worked hard on Neil’s injury and did a very good job.
“He is comfortable and the surgeons are happy with the operation.
“While he should make a full recovery, the extent of the injury means Neil is likely to miss the rest of the season.”
In the short term, Laudrup also has an issue in central defence after Chico Flores’s reckless challenge on Louis Saha saw him sent off on Saturday.
The £2.5 million summer recruit faces a three-match ban after his boot caught Saha on the side of the head.
“Maybe he didn’t have to make the challenge,” Laudrup conceded.
“I was expecting him to get a yellow card — it was out wide and he was not the last man in the middle.
“It was a high leg and it was a foul of course, but I know Chico and he always goes for the ball.
“I don’t want to comment on referees — they are always trying to do their best — but I hope the referee looks at the DVD a few times before he puts in his report.”
Laudrup suggested Swansea could appeal against the Flores dismissal, though the reality is that they are unlikely to get the decision overturned.
Tate will be on standby for a run of games after the international break with Flores likely to sit out the Premier League fixtures with Aston Villa and Everton as well as the Capital One Cup tie at Crawley.