Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughSwansea ready for new challenges - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Swansea ready for new challenges - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Swansea ready for new challenges

With the club announcing the record purchase of Ivorian striker Wilfried Bony from Vitesse Arnhem, what can we hope to see from Michael Laudrup’s team this season and will they be able to mount a serious challenge for the Europa League?

Michu was the hero for the Welsh side last season, with the Spanish revelation knocking in the goals on a consistent basis to keep the Swans flying high and well away from the relegation zone. However, it was noticeable when his goals did dry up towards the end of the season just how reliant the team had become on the £2m bargain signing from Rayo Vallecano.

Bony scored an incredible 31 goals in 30 league games in the Dutch league last year and the £12m that Swansea have invested in the 24-year-old is considerable to say the least. They realised that for a team to compete on both the domestic and European fronts they needed a large enough squad to cope with injuries, suspensions and fatigue. They also needed more than one recognised striker capable of putting the ball in the net on a regular basis. Whether Laudrup tries to link Michu and Bony together as a pairing remains to be seen, although personally I believe that Michu will probably end up occupying an attacking midfielder role in support of the ‘new Drogba’.

This summer has seen a lot of speculation regarding their Danish manager, with rumours linking him with the Real Madrid post and numerous other high profile clubs. However, he has stayed loyal to his contract and is keen to see how far he can develop this ambitious club. After such a successful debut season in the Premier League, including the League Cup thrashing of Bradford to claim the trophy, it would seem only logical to follow this up with at least one more year in charge before possibly seeking pastures new. Now that money is being invested in the team for 2013/2014 he may have realised that there is actually plenty of potential to win more silverware.

The domestic challenge is to break into the top six; much like David Moyes managed to do with Everton on several occasions, where the club can be guaranteed income from UEFA and extra gate receipts from matches against some of the continent’s finest teams. European football will also raise the profile of the club abroad, which is key if they wish to continue developing their fan base and attract players from outside the UK. 

Fellow Welsh rivals Cardiff are now back in the top division and can rely upon an Asian owner that is already stamping his authority upon the club in an attempt to make them more attractive to a global audience. Changing the shirt colour from blue to red was not without protest, but deemed necessary to increase marketability in Asia. He has a strong idea about where he wants to take the club and Swansea will be trying to ensure that they remain above their fierce rivals for as long as possible. Huw Jenkins has formulated a sensible approach to business activities and transfers since becoming chairman of the Swans and we are now beginning to see the benefits of his careful management.

Whilst transfer activity is still on-going, it is crucial that Ashley Williams is kept at the Liberty Stadium if they want to push on in the league and finish in the top half again. His experience and ability were crucial last year, hence why Arsenal were so strongly linked with taking the captain to London. It would be difficult to replace him and Laudrup will not want to make too many changes to key positions.

Many challenges lie ahead for the club and some will be completely new to them. Will they be able to improve upon last season or have the opposition worked out their game plan?

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