Swansea City risk making a mistake when they appoint their next manager. Following on from the appointments of Kenny Jackett, Roberto Martinez, Paulo Sousa and Brendan Rodgers which must all go down as successes, the noises which are coming out of the Liberty are that a big name manager may be next in.
Big name managers do not guarantee success, and Swansea have a footballing blueprint, a club ethos and importantly a budget which all need adhering too.
Swansea have been seen as one of the more pragmatic and progressive clubs. They won plaudits for the way they adapted to the Premier League, and for the football which they played, and comfortably avoided a quick return to the Championship.
They had the ultimate compliment played to them when one of English football’s biggest clubs came and took their manager from them, hoping he could add to and develop at Liverpool what he subscribed to in the less demanding environment in South Wales.
The names that Swansea have now been linked with; Marcel Desailly, who has had next to no managerial qualifications and is still doing his coaching badges has turned them down, and Michael Laudrup now appears to be the front runner.
Two exceptional players, no doubt but are these the right men Huw Jenkins should be putting his faith in?
If Laudrup is the man they will turn to, it will be a departure from the hands on management style employed by both Martinez and Rodgers. Laudrup has had only two years experience in La Liga, a season each at Getafe and Mallorca, and hasn’t managed for the best part of a year since leaving Mallorca last September. However his Getafe team did win plaudits for their attractive style of football, so this is a part of what could be tempting Jenkins.
There is no doubt that he will want funds to bring his own players in, and it will be questionable how much he has seen some of the more unsung Swansea players who did so well in their first season in the Premier League.
How this will affect the ongoing transfer saga of Gylfi Sigurdsson who was one of the Swan’s most influential players in the second half of the season is also unclear.
Will the Icelander want to come back to the club which is going through such a change, or could he find himself linking up with Rodgers again, at what he would consider the bigger, and more successful club, with the added advantage of European football, albeit the Europa League.
Two other names which Swansea were linked to were Blackpool manager Ian Holloway and Wigan assistant boss Graeme Jones - but the latter has ruled himself out.
This rejection is a worry too, as Jones must now be ready to come out of Martinez’s shadow and take the reigns of a club in his own right. Having been at Swansea when Martinez was there and also approached before Rodgers was appointed, Jones knows the club and what they stand for, but didn’t want the main job. Why? He has the ambition, and the skills. Does he know something we don’t? Perhaps he just likes being a number two.
Gus Poyet could have been an ideal candidate and although lightly linked never really threw his hat into the ring. May be he sees Swansea as not much more of a step up than Brighton and thinks if the Seagulls can continue to progress he can be in the Premier League with his current club.
The net doesn’t seem to have been cast particularly wide by the Swansea board. May be this is a good thing, and they have an idea of the manager they want, and do not want to be linked with all and sundry. They are almost deliberately not going for the obvious choices, and this is quite refreshing in a way.
The names that have been linked may have left Swans fans wondering. A Laudrup or a Desailly are really quite unknown quantities, which have the potential to go badly wrong.
For a club who now need to be cementing their place and looking to progress in the Premier League, they need the right man.
If Laudrup can come in, and have his team produce the sort of football he himself played in what was an exceptional career, then the Swansea fans will be happy.
If he is Jenkins’ choice, he will have seen something in him which will enable Swansea to protect the integrity of what they have been doing since moving to the Liberty.
If not, it could be yet another one season club for Laudrup, and the feeling that yet another top class player who can not transfer the
knowledge to be a top class manager. He will hope it is third time lucky. Over to you, Huw.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald