What Swansea could expect from Oscar Garcia

The Brighton and Hove Albion manager is one of a host of names linked with the vacant position at the Liberty Stadium after Michael Laudrup's dismissal

Swansea City are on the lookout for Michael Laudrup's successor and already the illustrious names of Dennis Bergkamp and Marcel Desailly have been bandied about.

Glenn Hoddle is also rumoured to be interested but, for now at least, the club will make do with Garry Monk. The former defender and club stalwart is perhaps the ideal candidate to stop the rot which continues to threaten whether or not the south Wales outfit can preserve their stay in the top flight.

One of the intriguing names to emerge, however, has been that of Oscar Garcia. The Brighton and Hove Albion manager would certainly require no acclimatisation period having bought into the Seagulls' footballing ethos upon his arrival at the Amex.

But Garcia is far more than a mere visionary. Admittedly though, the Spaniard, brought in from Maccabi Tel-Aviv last summer, was schooled at Barcelona's famed La Masia academy and, having played alongside Pep Guardiola and under Johan Cruyff, his approach towards instilling the 'Barcelona way' to the foundations Gus Poyet had left at Brighton was a given.

That is not to say he has just taken the baton from Poyet, however. In fact, far from it. Poyet's departure was an acrimonious one, tainting a club that had done as much for him as he had done for them. Similarly to Laudrup's departure from Swansea, there was a feeling Poyet himself felt he had outgrown the club.

In the Uruguayan's defence, he has gone on to win plaudits for turning Sunderland's season around following the turbulent reign of Paolo di Canio but Garcia has equally worked wonders in calming the tension around the Seagulls' camp after last season's bitter blow in losing to arch rivals Crystal Palace in the playoff semi finals.

Garcia's spell in charge has not been without its bumps and bruises. He lost Ashley Barnes to Burnley and midfield lynchpin Liam Bridcutt to Poyet's Sunderland during the Janaury transfer window. 

But after the signings of Dale Stephens and David Rodriguez, the blueprint Garcia wishes to implement took its next leap forward. Stephens, a technically gifted midfielder, and Rodriguez a striker straight out of the Spanish textbook.

Burly but blessed with an excellent touch and ability to bring others into play, Rodriguez will act as the perfect foil for others to shine and also offers a first-class backup to Leonardo Ulloa, the undisputed spearhead at the forefront of the Seagulls attack.

Garcia's side lie just seven points off of Reading, who occupy the final playoff spot currently but despite the key departures in personnel, you get the feeling the 40-year-old is slowly but surely getting his team to where he wants them.

In true Barca style, one of the key aspects to Garcia's project is the development of youth players, something Swansea have been able to boast in recent years, with left-back Ben Davies the most high-profile example.

Garcia will be able to achieve his goals with his current employers, who are set to move to a new £30m training ground complex in nearby Lancing this summer and by teaching possession football, or total football if you prefer, from an early age there is a belief the future can be bright.

He recently told the Sunday Mirror“In Barcelona all the teams, from the youngest upwards, play with this same style, the same formation. It is important for young players to understand how the first team is playing and try to do the same.

“I am not one to tell English football they have to do this but I do think you have to have one philosophy. It is not good when one year you want to play this way and the next year you want to play in a different way. You can’t build anything like that.”

Laudrup's CV was impressive but the Capital One Cup win last season was the catalyst for everything to turn sour. You sense Garcia may well be the ideal fit given his love for football to be played in the right way and his ability to make things all the sweeter, as Brighton fans will attest.

image: © Gareth Lovering

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