Michael Laudrup has plundered the Spanish market once again in his first move of the January transfer window. The Swansea boss has snapped up 25-year-old Belgian international midfielder Roland Lamah on an 18-month loan from La Liga club Osasuna, with the option to make the deal permanent at any point:
Lamah was unavailable for last night’s FA Cup replay at Arsenal but has been registered in time for the Swans’ home game against Stoke on Saturday as Laudrup looks to bolster his squad in light of the hectic winter schedule. The new boy was keen to praise his club’s style of play and, in a similar scenario to last summer’s acquisitions, admitted the Dane was a key factor in his decision to move to the Premier League:
“The team want to keep the ball and pass it, which is the strength of the players here. I think that style is best for me, so I’m delighted to join Swansea on loan. I really like the Premier League. I think you get more space to play, and that’s good for attacking players like myself. The team are doing very well in the league and the cups also, so it’s a great time to arrive at Swansea. And, of course, Michael Laudrup is in charge so I’m looking forward to playing and learning under him.”
Lamah has picked up plenty experience across the continent, playing in four top divisions already. The Ivory Coast-born player move to Belgium at the age of 15 and made his debut for lower league club Vise in 2003-04 before being snapped up by Anderlecht the following season. Afforded just six appearances for the club, he then move to Dutch outfit Roda and, in his most successful campaign so far, returned 11 goals and five assists from 32 appearances, helping the club to ninth spot in the Eredivisie before moving to France to ply his trade for Le Mans.
Over three full seasons, Lamah produced 10 goals and 11 assists in 92 league matches and was picked up by Osasuna in the summer of 2011. His time in La Liga proved less successful, though, with 45 games harvesting three goals and a trio of assists before Laudrup made his move earlier this week. The winger has represented Belgium at every youth level from U19 to U21, scoring seven times in 20 appearances, and has also turned out for the senior side five times.
Although many reports have listed the new boy as a winger, Laudrup considers him more versatile and reckons he is capable of slotting in behind the striker as well as on the flanks:
“He is a player we had already watched before the season started. He is a player who is not a forward but who can play behind the striker in all three roles. He has a lot of individual quality, he is quite strong and has good quality one against one as well as a good shot. He has not played that much this season..,but I think that he will have a chance here and I am looking forward to working with him. He is a player that can be very useful for us.”
While the signing is good news for Swansea, it’s set to increase competition for places in the Swans’ attacking midfield areas – thus making rotation more of an issue, with Michu almost certainly the one exception. The left-footed Lamah is equally adept on either wing and will vie for a starting berth along with Pablo Hernandez, Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer, affording Laudrup the chance to utilise his squad more effectively. The Belgian could also be utilised in “the hole”, affording Michu the chance to play as the lone forward – Laudrup seems to be unconvinced over Danny Graham’s ability to effectively lead the line.
As the Swans slowly evolve under the new regime, it may well be that the likes of Dyer and Routledge are edged towards the periphery as the Dane continues to make his own stamp on the squad. While Michu’s place as the obvious Swansea Fantasy midfield candidate is not in doubt, Lamah’s arrival nevertheless dents the potential of decent mid-price candidates – Hernandez and Routledge, for example, have averaged 4.1 points per game, with the former producing attacking returns in six of his last 10 league games. With Lamah (who should come in around 5.0 – 6.0 in FPL) added to the mix, it doesn’t bode well for consistency of starts on the flanks as Laudrup attempts to clinch a place in the Capital One Cup final and looks to cements a top half finish in what has been a hugely impressive debut season in the Premier League thus far.