Michael Laudrup’s toughest task lies ahead

Despite Laudrup's outstanding debut season in the Premier League, he will be under even more pressure next year.

Second-season syndrome is usually a condition that affects teams rather than managers. But Swansea City’s second year in the top flight has proved to be even better than their first.

And yet having excelled this season – securing both a healthy league position and the Capital One Cup – all eyes will be on Michael Laudrup, both this summer and as he begins his sophomore campaign at the Liberty Stadium.

Competing as they will be on four fronts, Laudrup has to decide if he wants to be either a prolific or a savvy shopper once the transfer window opens.

He has already spoken of the need for at least one new striker. But in a league where you can quickly be left behind, he cannot rely on the outstanding but slim squad of this season. It must both be maintained and built upon.

One striker is a start. But he need only look at Newcastle United’s current malaise as a warning sign that must be heeded.

While one great season is impressive, many great seasons are a legacy.

And when the sides above Swansea will inevitably strengthen – either to stay ahead or to get ahead – Laudrup has a decision to make

Does he sign the players that will enable the club to handle the addition of Thursday night football and the likelihood of injuries? Or does he continue the model that has served him so well up to now?

A model that Tottenham have also employed in recent times, signing two or three players each season – a slow transition that sees them moving ever closer to the elite of both England and Europe could be applied.

How Laudrup manages the extra matches and the additional expectation will be interesting.

The Europa League has for some become a success quickly rebranded a burden. But you sense the Danish manager will take Swansea’s return to European football very seriously. How seriously may determine if they can continue their fine form in the Premier League.

There has already been talk of interest from some of Europe’s biggest clubs for Laudrup’s services. But should he stay and continue the impressive trajectory the Swans have been on for quite some time, he could turn them from many people's favourite second-team to true and regular challengers for both plaudits and silverware.

For now they should simply enjoy their success and their stability. But in a game that never stands still, reinforcements and re-thinks will be required to ensure both continue.

What does next season have in store for Swansea and their manager?

image: © swans100

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