Swansea City have played some breathtaking football over the past few weeks.
Their beautiful team goal against Manchester City in the FA Cup, brilliantly finished by Bersant Celina, brought back memories of the Swansea Way and their easy-on-the-eye style.
One of the key advocates of that philosophy was Michael Laudrup, the Dane who managed as he played – with finesse.
Laudrup’s tenure ended in disappointing fashion but some of the football on show was scintillating.
Key to that were the players he brought in.
The international break is as good a time as any to look at where the stars recruited by Laudrup are now. A few of the following were clearly not signed by the former Barcelona and Real Madrid man – we’re sure you can identify which ones – but it is worth a look.
So here we go, it’s some list…
The cult hero – spare for the theatrics – was a very good defender and formed a positive partnership with skipper Ashley Williams. Signed from Genoa for £2million, famously wound up Sam Allardyce on a couple of occasions. Left Swansea for the Middle East to link up again with Laudrup at Lekhwiya. Returned to Spain for a season with Granada before joining Rubin Kazan. Currently without a club.
Another firm fans’ favourite, he arrived in South Wales with a bang but left with a whimper. Twenty-plus goals in his debut season was followed up chronic ankle problems which eventually ended his career. Was loaned to Napoli, then ended up back in Spain with his brother’s side Langreo. Returned to boyhood club Real Oviedo before calling time on his career due to injury. Now director of football with Langreo.
The defender signed from Premier League big-hitters Arsenal for a fee of £1million. He never really found a place at Swansea, with loan moves to Birmingham and Leeds United proving more successful. Seemed to find a home at Elland Road but on his return to Swansea he was promptly moved on to West Brom on a permanent deal last summer. Doing OK at The Hawthorns.
The striker never played a game for Swansea during a frustrating season in South Wales. The 26-year-old is now at Rotherham – via Crawley Town, Fleetwood Town, Bradford City, Bolton and Carlisle.
The South Korean was Swansea record signing for a while when he joined on the dotted line from Celtic. Ki was consistently inconsistent, going from player-of-the-season winner to also-ran. Had a season on loan with Sunderland before he ran down his contract as Swansea were relegated. Now at Newcastle, he has struggled to get a place in their first team nailed down under Rafa Benitez.
The Spaniard was capable of the sublime but unfortunately he did not show it often enough for fans’ liking. The winger arrived in SA1 with Champions League experience with Valencia and an international cap to his name. Played 57 times for Swansea, scoring five times. Headed to the Middle East, before moving back home to Rayo Vallecano. Now with Leeds and bidding for a place in the Premier League. A career renaissance indeed.
The Dutchman joined from FC Twente as cover for the injured Neil Taylor, who broke his ankle early on in the season. Got some game-time but left at the end of the campaign – only to re-join on a three-year contract just weeks later. Loaned to Middlesbrough before his contract was cancelled by mutual consent. Was last at Oxford United.
Jonathan de Guzman (loan)
The Canadian-born Netherlands international ended up staying for two seasons, on loan from Villarreal. Effective from deadball situations, he made 71 appearances in the white shirt. Went to the World Cup in Brazil before joining Napoli, where things took a decidedly bad turn for the worse. Now at Eintracht Frankfurt.
Itay Shechter (loan)
Became a cult figure in Swansea but for all the wrong reasons. The hard-working frontman joined from FC Kaiserslautern but only managed the one goal, away at Wigan. Has featured for Hapoel Tel Aviv, Nantes, Maccabi Haifa, Beitar Jerusalem and Maccabi Tel Aviv since.
Roland Lamah (loan)
The Belgian winger scored twice for Swansea in a six-month stint in South Wales. He joined from Osasuna, but when they released him he headed to Hungary and Ferencvárosi. Two seasons there and he was on the move again, to the US and FC Dallas. Now with FC Cincinnati.
The young centre-back signed a four-year deal for a fee of £2.5million. A strange player in many ways, as potential was there but was always facing stiff competition in Williams, Flores and Bartley. Played more than 50 games for Swansea but spread over a five-year period. Loans to Real Betis and Rayo Vallecano paved the way for a permanent move home last summer.
The curly-haired midfielder lasted just one season in Landore. Signed on a free from Real Betis, he was tough tackling but didn’t really offer much else. Left for Espanyol before moving to Greece with PAOK, and was on the pitch when one of the most bizarre incidents in European football occurred – involving a gun.
The Manchester United youngster had plenty of promise but it was never fulfilled in South Wales. Only made one senior appearance for the Swans. Had loan spells with ADO Den Haag and Northampton but neither were a real success. He joined Portuguese outfit Nacional last summer.
The neat and tidy playmaker enjoyed game-time during Swansea’s Europa League campaign but couldn’t nail down a league place amid stiff competition. Like many of his compatriots, he headed home, to Rayo Vallecano, before a successful move to Genk followed. Recently left the Belgian league for Toronto in MLS.
The 6ft 2in stopper from Slovenia signed an initial two-year deal with the club. Still here, but has yet to make an appearance for the first team. Still only 23, he has his career ahead of him.
Son of Serbian footballer Sinisa Gogic, the defender signed from Olympiacos for the age-grade set-up. Didn’t play a game for Laudrup. Now with Hamilton Academicals.
A £5million signing from Liverpool, the midfielder was a success in South Wales, while also having the tendency to lose his head on occasions. Could pick a pass – and a fight in a phone box. Scored a sensational goal against Aston Villa but his time at the Liberty came to sour end after the FA Cup defeat at Oxford. Joined Newcastle for £12million where his career has carried on much in the same vein. So much talent – if channelled correctly.
Swansea fans still get misty-eyed over Bony Mark I, who arrived in Landore hungry for goals. Was sensational in his first stint here, earning him a £28million move Manchester City. Injury, illness and increased competition did for him at the Etihad and he was loaned to Stoke City. Came back to Swansea but he wasn’t the same player. A cruciate knee injury ruined his return and he was loaned to Al-Arabi in Qatar in January.
The full-back joined from Arsenal but never got further than Swansea’s development side. Went on loan to Luton – but he didn’t play there either. Released by Swansea, he featured for Hadley, St Albans City and AFC Eskilstuna in Sweden before moving to Norway with Aalesund.
The winger now plays for Barnsley and featured for Ryan Giggs’ Wales side against Trinidad & Tobago this week. He signed for Swansea but like others failed to make the first-team picture. Enjoyed loans at Leyton Orient, Stevenage and Yeovil before joining the Tykes in 2017, where his career is blossoming.
The Bristol City product joined on a two-year deal from Stoke City and went straight into the development squad. Current status unknown.
Pau Morer Vicente
The midfielder joined from Damm, a Barcelona-based outfit. Again, Morer was brought in for the age-grade side. Went to Girona B straight after and now with FK Zalgiris in Lithuania.
The French striker was a bizarre signing for Swansea and he didn’t have the desired impact; Ngog – who signed a short-term deal until the end of the season – featured in just three games for Swansea, all from the bench. The 2-0 defeat to West Ham (Laudrup’s last game in charge), the 4-3 loss against his old club Liverpool and the 1-0 reverse against Chelsea at the Liberty. Now with Hungarian side Honved.
Still at the club but has yet to really make his mark on the first team. The 23-year-old has been loaned to Crewe, Southend, Mansfield and Peterborough during his time in South Wales. Has plenty of time on his side.
Another who failed to trouble the scorers in terms of appearances. Joined from Blackburn, but was released without playing a game for the seniors. Had stints at Halifax and Northampton.
Signed from Falkirk and still very much part of plans in SA1. Nearly joined Reading last summer, Fulton has proved to be an important member of Graham Potter’s squad. Two loan stays at Oldham and Wigan gave him the game-time he craved and he looks to be here to stay.
Alvaro Vazquez (loan)
Another striker who failed to hit the heights in SA1. He was very much a Laudrup signing, he was a Spain Under-21 international but he didn’t find the back of the net for Swansea. Now with Real Zaragoza in the second tier of Spanish football.
Marvin Emnes (loan)
The Dutchman returned for a second stint at the Liberty following his successful month in South Wales in 2010. Subsequently signed a permanent deal but found opportunities hard to come by. Went to Blackburn on loan (twice) before being released. Was last seen on trial with Bolton Wanderers.
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