Swansea should keep same style with new manager
All the success Swansea City have enjoyed in the last decade has been accomplished with style.
Michael Laudrup followed a string of Swans bosses that held and maintained the same passing and possession philosophy that saw them rise through the divisions.
Laudrup stabilised Swansea as a Premier League club and guided them to last season’s League Cup, bringing Europa League football with it.
From the heights of winning a trophy, it was natural to think the only way was down – a grim portent that has become a real prospect for the Swans.
Injuries and the extra commitment of playing in Europe have taken their toll on Swansea’s relatively modest squad, with their struggles reminiscent of those that Newcastle United experienced last season.
They may be 8/1 outsiders to be relegated, but 12th position in the Premier League table is far more precarious than it looks, however, as the Swans are just two points above the relegation zone.
Club chairman Huw Jenkins showed no hesitation in axing Laudrup this week and installing coaching novice Garry Monk as his interim replacement.
Veteran Swans defender Monk looks a short-term appointment from within designed to keep the continuity that has served the Welsh outfit so well, especially as Alan Curtis – a long serving-member of the back room staff – is assisting him.
Former Swansea assistant Graeme Jones may be offered the job if he fancies striking out on his own, thus breaking up a successful partnership with Everton boss Roberto Martinez.
Like Monk, Jones knows the club, but has no managerial experience and thus there are conflicting elements of safety and risk in taking this option. Yet there are other candidates to step in, charged with the immediate task of steering the Swans to safety.
The fact they are still in Europe – but face Rafa Benitez’s Napoli next and are a long shot at 40/1 to lift the Europa League as a result – attracts some interesting names to the table.
Former Argentina and Athletic Bilbao boss Marcelo Bielsa, Arsenal icon and current Ajax assistant Dennis Bergkamp, Glenn Hoddle and Brighton’s Oscar Garcia have all been linked with Swansea.
Bielsa, nicknamed El Loco, is known for his trademark unorthodox tactical approach, which may alarm the Swans hierarchy, but would be such fun for fans and neutral observers alike.
Dutchman Bergkamp knows English football well, yet lacks knowledge of the top job in the dugout. Hoddle, an ex-England, Tottenham and Chelsea boss, meanwhile has not managed since 2006.
Spaniard Garcia used to play for Barcelona like Laudrup, and coached the Nou Camp youth team. His Brighton side, who started copying the Swans’ style under predecessor Gus Poyet, are in the mix for a Championship play-off place.
In his previous job, Garcia steered Maccabi Tel Aviv to the Israeli top-flight title for the first time in 10 years. He is a newcomer to Britain, however, and the Swansea job would be the biggest of his coaching career so far.
Whoever Jenkins selects as the next permanent manager, there will be no change of direction in the approach on the pitch.