Swansea City star Jonathan de Guzman aims for double glory
JONATHAN de Guzman arrived at Swansea City frustrated and craving first-team football — he could leave a Capital One Cup winner and Dutch international.
The Canadian-born midfielder's loan spell from Villarreal comes to an end this summer.
And though he and Michael Laudrup have both expressed a desire for him to remain in South Wales, it could be that de Guzman heads back to Spain in May.
Even if that did happen, the 25-year-old would be able to reflect on a memorable ten months in South Wales.
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Swansea have again defied the doubters to excel in the Premier League this season.
They are comfortably on course to secure another top-flight campaign and stand within touching distance of a first major trophy after beating Chelsea this week to reach the Capital One Cup final.
"Being part of this team right now is an honour," says de Guzman.
"It's the first time this club have ever made a final and everyone will look forward to it, the players and the fans. I'm really happy to be a part of it.
"I knew Swansea had a great squad and played good football. Obviously I knew the coach from Mallorca and I am so happy that I made the move.
"I'm really happy to be here."
Feyenoord youth product de Guzman played only a bit-part role for Villarreal last season.
Frustrated, he agreed a season-long switch to Swansea and has been steadily improving throughout the campaign.
Last weekend's 3-1 victory over Stoke was probably de Guzman's finest hour in a Swansea shirt so far as he netted an eye-catching double.
The first was a sublime free-kick that sailed over the Potters wall and into the near corner.
Then de Guzman showed sharp control and a deadly finish to complete a flowing Swansea move by firing past Asmir Begovic.
"I didn't really have many expectations when I arrived, my goal was to play week-in, week-out and thankfully I have been doing that so far," says de Guzman who has netted six times in all competitions this term.
"I wanted to get back in that rhythm after a not so good season at Villarreal last season, so my main goal was to get back playing.
"I feel in good form. A player will play at his best when he is happy and I think you can see that I am really enjoying my games."
His brace against Stoke was watched by Dutch assistant manager Danny Blind and led to de Guzman being included in Holland's provisional squad for a friendly against Italy next month.
And he followed the call-up by helping Swansea past Chelsea and into their first ever major final. Laudrup has made it clear he wants to make de Guzman's switch to Swansea permanent.
But the former Mallorca man's parent club are sure to have taken notice of his recent sparkling showings.
"We all knew it was a year contract and I'm just happy to be here, I'm not looking too far ahead into the future," adds de Guzman.
"I'm just enjoying playing with a really good squad and the guys have made it very easy for me.
"I haven't made the final (Holland) squad yet, but it's a little confirmation for the way I am playing.
"It shows that I'm doing well and I am very honoured to get a call-up."
Laudrup's side frustrated the Blues in Wednesday's second leg with a disciplined, well-organised display, restricting their visitors to only a handful of chances.
And that was enough to secure a showpiece appearance following a 2-0 triumph in West London 14 days earlier.
"We're very happy, it was a great performance," says de Guzman.
"Knowing we were 2-0 up, we just had to be very aggressive and play our normal game.
"We didn't change much in our system, we knew what was on the line and what we had to do and now we are in the final.
"We deserved it over the two legs. We were up 2-0 thanks to two very important goals at Stamford Bridge and you could see everybody was fighting for each other.
"The fans were on top of their game also and that gave us a lot of motivation.
"We knew that Chelsea are a very strong team who are capable of scoring lots of goals, especially away from home, but we got the better of them thanks to a great team performance."
If de Guzman does end up heading back to La Liga in four months' time, he may leave with a little memento of his time in Wales.
Swansea are hot favourites to lift the cup when they take on League Two Bradford at Wembley next month. Realising that goal would end the club's 101-year wait for a major trophy and provide a route into Europe.
It would also rank as Guzman's greatest personal honour, eclipsing his 2008 triumph in the Dutch domestic cup competition.
"It's a great achievement for the club and me personally, to play in front of 90,000 fans will be special," he adds.
"It will be the biggest game of my career. We have a good chance of winning too.
"No-one is going to underestimate Bradford because they have beaten some really good sides to get to this position.
"We've got to go there with the mentality that we can go out and win this game.
"For Swansea, being in the final alone is a great achievement, but of course there is a big chance for us to get to Europe and everyone is looking forward to that."
With domestic and international honours already on the horizon, who knows what else lies ahead for de Guzman.