Michael Laudrup's Tenure with Swansea Was Always a Ticking Time Bomb

Jerrad PetersWorld Football Staff WriterFebruary 4, 2014

SWANSEA, WALES - JANUARY 01:  Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup looks on before the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Manchester City at Liberty Stadium on January 1, 2014 in Swansea, Wales.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Michael Laudrup’s tumble from Swansea City hero to Liberty Stadium villain came to an end on Tuesday when the Premier League outfit announced the Dane’s departure after nearly 20 months as manager.

“Swansea City and manager Michael Laudrup have tonight parted company,” the club announced on its official website. “It is the first time in nearly 10 years that the club has parted with a manager in this way, but we had to remove the constant uncertainty surrounding the club and Michael’s long-term future with us.”

Michael Laudrup and his players celebrate Swansea's 2013 Capital One Cup victory at Wembley.
Michael Laudrup and his players celebrate Swansea's 2013 Capital One Cup victory at Wembley.Scott Heavey/Getty Images

The statement, which included remarks from chairman Huw Jenkins, also revealed the Swansea board had been working with Laudrup to “improve the work of the backroom team” as recently as Tuesday afternoon, but as it happened Jenkins decided it was unlikely the former Juventus and Barcelona icon could “achieve a stable environment” going forward.

In other words, Laudrup’s fate was as predictable as it was during his time at Spanish side Mallorca, where he also departed on bad terms after a row with club hierarchy.

But what sets his latest falling-out apart from that in Palma is that, just short of 12 months earlier, he had guided Swansea to victory in the Capital One Cup—a triumph that also took the team into the Europa League.

Wilfried Bony was Michael Laudrup's major signing of 2013.
Wilfried Bony was Michael Laudrup's major signing of 2013.Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

A respectable, ninth-place finish followed shortly thereafter, but just as the summer transfer window was about to open, the first cracks appeared in the 49-year-old’s relationship with Jenkins.

As reported by the Daily Mail back in June, the Swansea board were not at all happy when Bayram Tutumlu—Laudrup’s representative—demanded an increased transfer kitty for a list of targets intended to help bolster the squad ahead of a European campaign, and after Tutumlu went behind their backs in an attempt to sell defender Ashley Williams, Jenkins permanently black-balled him.

But that didn’t stop Laudrup from splashing £12 million on Vitesse Arnhem forward Wilfried Bony—a move Jenkins seemed to hint at regretting when interviewed by The Guardian in November.

“It’s not what we are about as the club,” he said of the transfer fee. “Just going out and signing a player that scores 33 goals in Holland—anybody can do that.”

He added, “I think our strength is to find players who are not quite tipping the mark somewhere else and make sure that, when they get consistency and a proper structure of playing, they come here and do well.”

It’s a philosophy that didn’t exactly jive with Laudrup’s, and after the wins started to dry up and nerves began to fray, one disaster simply led to another, compounding an already uncomfortable situation.

On January 21 police were called to Swansea’s training ground following a bust-up involving Garry Monk and Chico Flores during which the latter threatened Monk with a brick, according to The Telegraph.

Incidentally, Flores will now be answering to Monk following the 34-year-old’s installation as player-manager.

But even after the confrontation, Laudrup refused to calm the waters by making a definite comment about his future plans, instead beseeching reporters not to ask about his situation and saying his concentration was “about the present for the team and for me,” as per the Express.

A 2-0 win at home to Fulham just days later bought him another week, as already Sky Sports was reporting a rift within the Swansea board as to his tenure as manager.

Then came last Saturday’s defeat to West Ham, after which Laudrup departed for a few days in Paris.

It was while he was away that Jenkins and the board met to discuss a possible back-room shake-up, as revealed by the BBC, and upon Laudrup's return, his fate appeared sealed.

With his exit Monk takes over as temporary player-manager, and Swansea have also kept first-team coach Alan Curtis at the club in his current role. Monk, who has been taking his coaching license, began working part-time with the academy setup back in the summer.

Laudrup, for his part, quit his previous role as Mallorca boss in September 2011 following the disintegration of his relationship with chairman Lorenzo Serra Ferrer, as per Goal. Not coincidentally, the breakdown was due in large part to a disagreement over summer transfer strategies.