Swansea City may be one of the smallest clubs in the Premier League, but they have the foundations to challenge the teams in Europe’s most prestigious competition.
You think I’m crazy? In the early part of the 21st century, Swansea sat rock bottom of the Football League and, in 2001, the club was sold for a solitary pound; these were some of the Swans’ darkest days.
However, the Welsh side were not done yet and a combination of clever ownership and stupendous management skills sky-rocketed them through the divisions in subsequent seasns.
Acquisitions of the likes of Leon Britton, Lee Trundle and their new stadium were all key to their success.
Roberto Martinez fashioned the promotion to the Championship and then made way for Brendan Rodgers to come in and things then really kicked off. Rodgers created the renowned ‘Swansea style’ of football and this - along with some savvy signings - spearheaded their charge to the Premier League.
The stage was set for the 2011 playoffs, Reading v Swansea at Wembley with the ultimate prize to aim for. And to follow in a fairy-tale storyline, the Welsh side triumphed 4-2. This meant they could celebrate their centenary year in the Premier League.
So that’s how they got here, what now makes them able to challenge further?
Well, Swansea play in that awesome style that I previously mentioned. It involves quick and concise passing and sturdy possession along with flair and incisive penetration. This style has seen them take the scalps of Arsenal and Liverpool in recent years. They may be a small club but their football is one of a higher-quality team.
Micheal Laudrup, the Swansea boss, is essential to their potential success. He is a manager who signs players who are good value for their prices - the best example being Michu.
Signed for only £2 million, Michu competed for the Premier League Golden Boot in his first season and played in tandem with other pivotal players such as Jonathan De Guzman to fend off second-season syndrome in the Swansea camp.
Now the only way is up. With signings such as Wilfried Bony and Pablo Hernandez intertwined with the UK spirit of Ashley Williams, Neil Taylor and Nathan Dyer, they are building a team capable of conquering European teams. They outplayed Valencia in the Europa League a few weeks ago and are proving their abilities in Europe’s secondary competition.
The more they play in Europe, the better they will get and the more money they will earn and the more of a force they will become.
Swansea have the ability, the style and the leadership. The club is now well structured with strong support and the belief to get better and better. What’s to stop them?
Swansea will be a top six team within the next ten years. You heard it here first.
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