LONDON, England January 10 – Michael Laudrup has insisted Michu will stay with Swansea during the January transfer window after the Spanish striker put his side in sight of a place in the English League Cup final.
Swansea manager Laudrup described the forward as the “bargain of the season” following a 2-0 win away to European champions Chelsea in the first leg of their semi-final tie — the Welsh club’s first victory at Stamford Bridge since 1925.
Michu, signed for just £2 million ($3.21 million, 2.45 million euros) from La Liga side Rayo Vallecano, scored his 16th goal in 25 appearances this season to give Swansea a 39th minute lead in west London on Wednesday.
His goal tally has made Michu a coveted target but Laudrup reckoned the 26-year-old’s recent form had put him out of reach of all but Europe’s wealthiest clubs.
“We all know the situation, the economic situation in the world, so there really aren’t that many clubs who can buy him,” Denmark great Laudrup said.
“There are some here in England. In Spain there are only two. Italy, I don’t think so,” he added. “They’re trying to sell. Bayern Munich in Germany… so only a few, few clubs.
“And Michu likes it here. He’s happy where he is, so I’m really not afraid because I’m so sure he will stay with us for the next five or six months. I don’t know in the summer.
“I don’t know how much he’s worth. Ask my chairman. He was the bargain of the season, we know that. But we’re happy we’ve found the right players.”
Laudrup added: “What he is doing, in terms of goals, is incredible, particularly when you think he’s never been a No9 (striker).
“He’s always been a midfielder coming from deeper. But one chance, one goal today. That’s incredible. You’d pay a lot of money for that.”
Victory moved Swansea, who face Chelsea in the return leg at their Liberty Stadium home on January 23, closer to a first major cup final appearance.
But Laudrup refused to accept his side were favourites to go through and play either fourth-tier Bradford or Premier League rivals Aston Villa.
“We’re not there yet,” he said. “We’re still very far. We will need a great, great performance like the one today.
“We have a realistic possibility, but there’s still a mountain to climb,” he said, with an unlikely final against Bradford looming after the Bantams’ 3-1 first leg win over Villa on Tuesday.
And asked who were the favourites in both semi-final ties, Laudrup replied: “Aston Villa and Chelsea, still. I hope Bradford play Swansea.”
Mistakes from Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic allowed Michu and Danny Graham to clinch victory and inflict a second successive home defeat on Chelsea.
But Rafael Benitez insisted there were plenty of positives to draw from the performance, despite being jeered once again by Blues supporters.
“I think the team were doing really well, had a lot of chances and could have scored two or three in the first half, but made two mistakes and paid for them. That is the reality,” interim manager Benitez said.
“The team are doing well,” said the Spaniard, who has failed to win over the Chelsea faithful since replacing sacked fans’ favourite Roberto di Matteo.
“You can lose a game and then analyse it, but if you play this game 10 times maybe you will win nine of them.”
Demba Ba replaced an ineffective Fernando Torres 10 minutes from time and had an effort ruled out for offside, but Benitez insisted he was happy with Torres’s display.
“I was happy with the way the team were working. The team were creating chances, not one player,” explained Benitez, who was previously Torres’s manager when the two Spaniards were at Liverpool.
“Swansea have a great advantage (in the tie), but if we go there and score one goal we can see what happens.”