Swansea City plan for life with - and without - Michael Laudrup
SWANSEA City simply have to accept that their star performers will be wanted by bigger clubs.
And when bigger clubs want someone who is on the books at a smaller club, they usually get their man.
That, Huw Jenkins concedes, is the way it is in football.
He saw it with Brendan Rodgers last summer, and then with Joe Allen.
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Before that he saw it with Roberto Martinez, who left the Liberty Stadium to join Wigan Athletic.
The Latics may not be considered 'bigger' than Swansea these days, but in 2009 they were in the Premier League while the club Martinez left behind were in the Championship.
There have been plenty of other examples in the Jenkins era — Dorus de Vries, Jason Scotland, Lee Trundle, Andy Robinson — of Swansea employees moving on because they felt their careers would be better served elsewhere.
Invariably, of course, there were pay rises involved and, if these things come down to cash, Swansea cannot compete with the clubs at the top-end of the game.
There are other factors — Rodgers and Allen, for instance, no doubt felt they were more likely to land silverware at Anfield than they were in Wales.
After more than a decade in the boardroom, Swansea's chairman has come to accept that inevitably, players and coaches who impress in SA1 will be tempted to move on.
"At a club like Swansea City we cannot hide from the fact that if we are successful, and we play football in the fashion that we enjoy, we will get a lot of plaudits," Jenkins says.
"The way we do things makes us very attractive to bigger clubs, whether you are talking about players or managers.
"We have to accept that — that what we do as a club makes us more attractive to others.
"What we have to do as a result is make sure we are one step ahead of everybody else."
That means Swansea's owners have to think about how they might replace a manager even when their current boss is in place and doing a good job.
There is also a need to have a list of potential new signings in mind just in case one of their key players is lured from the Liberty.
And it means working hard to ensure contracts are not allowed to run down, for Swansea then risk losing their assets for less then their value, or even for nothing if deals are allowed to expire.
Hence Jenkins has been busy sorting out new terms for a number of senior figures on the Swansea playing staff in recent weeks.
And hence the Swansea hierarchy are keen for Michael Laudrup to follow the likes of Michu and Leon Britton by putting pen to paper on an extension to his contract.
Laudrup only committed to Swansea for two seasons when he agreed to take the reins from Brendan Rodgers.
But with everything running smoothly for both parties to date, the club want to extend the agreement by a further 12 months.
"I think it's the right thing, for us and for Michael, to make sure if we can that he has another two seasons after this one on his contract," Jenkins adds.
"That has to be the first step. It will give us a bit of stability and it will provide security as well when players are joining us in the summer."
Jenkins must have known when he studied Laudrup's CV last summer that the Dane was never likely to become a fixture in these parts.
Laudrup, after all, lasted only one season at Getafe before resigning and he spent just seven months at Spartak Moscow.
And in his last job, at Real Mallorca, Laudrup departed in the opening weeks of his second campaign at the helm.
Only in his first managerial post, at Brondby, has Laudrup put down any roots, having managed the club where he emerged as a player for four seasons.
It would be a surprise if he lasts that long at Swansea.
Laudrup said on the day he was unveiled last June that there was no chance of him being a manager within a decade, never mind him still being Swansea's boss.
Encouragingly, perhaps, he has suggested that he is not interested in going on to take charge at one of the top clubs because he has already been there during his playing career.
And there is no doubt Laudrup is enjoying a rare chance to spend some money in the transfer market — and on players of his choice.
That is not a luxury he has enjoyed often in his spell as a coach.
Laudrup has stated that he is savouring his first crack at the Premier League, so Swansea are optimistic that he will agree to a contract extension.
If Laudrup does end up sticking around — and taking the club forward as he has done so far — for three years, Swansea will be delighted.
They have been forced into plenty of managerial changes in recent times, and a spell of relative stability would be welcome.
Swansea did not want to lose Martinez, and they were not keen for Rodgers to go when Liverpool came calling.
But Jenkins has seen enough in his spell on the board of directors to know that Swansea cannot pin all their hopes on Laudrup sticking around.
"We are all experienced enough to know that nobody knows what's around the corner in football," he says.
"We have all learnt that as supporters of Swansea City over the past few years.
"And so while we are looking to get things tied up with Michael, we are also very clear about what football is like these days."
Perhaps the best plan for Swansea's followers is to enjoy Laudrup while he lasts.