For all their recent success, Swansea City supporters have grown used to wondering if their manager will still be with them come the following morning. And so when Michael Laudrup’s name was once again thrust into the spotlight this week they’d be forgiven for cocking a wry smile as they sigh “here we go again”.
It is perhaps testament to the quality of not only their football, but the calibre of manager that Swansea City’s board have attracted in recent seasons that they are so regularly linked when the managerial merry-go-round springs into action. David Moyes to Man United? Will Roberto Martinez stay at Wigan? All questions that immediately thrust Michael Laudrup’s name into the mixas a possible - nay probable - replacement.
Again this week the question of Laudrup’s future has been cast into doubt, this time after his employer and agent fell out over perceived interference in transfer dealings. The Dane moved quickly to dispel any suggestion that a breakdown in relationship between the parties would cause his position to be come untenable, and move to one of the numerous clubs reportedly interested in recruiting one of the greatest players of his generation.
And it is in that quality that lies the real answer to Laudrup’s intentions.
He has, in footballing terms been there. He’s done that. He has both the t-shirts, and more importantly, the medals to prove it.
His motivation in football is different.
Michael Laudrup does not need to search out the biggest stage any more. He does not need to align himself to Europe’s so called “big” clubs. For this 48-year-old footballing legend it is the manner of his success, not the size of it that drives him.
When Swansea City paraded their first major trophy in their 100 year history through the city centre last season, Laudrup spoke eloquently and passionately about what it meant to him to win the League Cup.
Bear in mind this is a man who has won the European Cup, 5 Spanish league titles, two Spanish Super Cups, Championships in Holland and Italy as well as a host of domestic and other European, international and individual honours. He has, in short, been to the very top.
Yet winning English football’s second tier cup competition, one that sees many teams field inexperienced sides as they focus on their main season targets trumped them all. As he put it, it meant more to him than anything else.
And that is the reason that he will not drop and run from Swansea City at the first sign of trouble.
His motivation is one of personal endeavour, not mass-market triumphalism. Swansea City, and the players he has brought here are a project he has started and one that he intends to finish. The prospect of leading his side into their first Europa League campaign next season only adds to that.
Ultimately money will talk. When all is said and done and he has ticked this box then there will be little Swansea City can do to fight off a big-money approach as seen during the exit of former boss Brendan Rodgers to Liverpool. And they will surely come.
But in the mean time speculation over his future will end up being just that, until he feels his time is served.