The Scott Ruscoe Column: Swansea's managerial woes, is Van Dijk worth £75m and no problem with Benitez

Reporter:

Barrie White

Carlos Carvalhal’s appointment at Swansea City until the end of the season could be another blow to young British coaches.

I read recently that Ryan Giggs didn’t want to apply again because he’d already been turned down. They’re choosing another foreign manager in the former Sheffield Wednesday boss.

I have to be honest and say I don’t know much about him and how Sheff Wed are doing at the minute in the Championship. But coaches and managers doing well in recent times have been overlooked and the last rumour I’d heard was that Gary Monk was being lined up for a return.

Going with a foreign coach seems to be a trend these days anyway so I’m not surprised there.

One way looking at it is that Swansea could be possibly resigned to relegation and that there’s someone there ready-made to take them back up. Whether they think he can do the job or not, it’s looking grim for Swansea this year.   

There doesn’t seem to be any leadership in the team and I saw them against Liverpool the other day. They could have scored as many goals as they wanted, and that’s a shame for Swansea because of where they’ve come from over the years.

They’ve been great to watch over the years in the Premier League. But there’s been too many managers and too many different people in charge with no stability.

They appointed the American manager Bob Bradley and that was never going to work as the players never bought into him. It’s a turbulent time for the Swans and that’s a shame considering the managers that have been there, such as Brendan Rodgers, Michael Laudrup and Roberto Martinez.

Paul Clement was obviously fighting against the wind and he didn’t have the funds needed to get them where he wanted them.

Virgil van Dijk’s move to Liverpool has finally been completed and it was obvious he was leaving Southampton because of how little they used him recently.

They probably didn’t sell him in the summer because of the way Liverpool went about it but now it comes to January when Liverpool really need him, they put the price up of £75 million.

Regardless of the new TV deals etc, that’s a lot of money for a defender. But the Reds need it and it’s forced their hand as in recent performances you can see that.

They are struggling defensively but that price has been inflated for two reasons; 1) Liverpool really need their defence improving and 2) they’ve had that many players off Southampton in the past that it’s going to cost them more money again.

Jurgen Klopp’s gone for that, plus there were rumours that Manchester City were in for him too which has pumped up the price as well. But it seemed that van Dijk has his heart set on a move to Liverpool and it seems it was vice versa too.

It’s like buying a house; once you've got your heart set on something the emotional effect is that you want it whatever. It was the same with Naby Keita, who joins next year, where Liverpool got their man but again, slightly over the odds again in my view.

Van Dijk can play and he’s obviously a good defender as he wouldn’t have got to where he has without being able to defend. He’s a presence and I think he’ll be that leader type too – I hope so.

Time will tell and I read that he signed for Celtic from Groningen for £2.3 million so that while footballers’ fees are inflated, you see how much he’s been sold for now, with a £13 million fee to Southampton too.

He’s a leader and a character and I think he’ll be a positive for Liverpool.

Rafael Benitez picked up some stick from pundits and fans alike for his ultra-conservative approach when his Newcastle side were beaten by Manchester City the other night.

I don’t blame him for doing this at all. Manchester City are on the crest of a wave and they’ve won every game bar one against Everton, so you’ve got to find another way of stopping them.

Newcastle playing free-flowing attacking football against City was not the right way to get a win or a draw – they would get thrashed by five or six. When a manager sets up their team, it’s got nothing to do with anyone else, be it a manager, a pundit etc.

It was up to Benitez about whether he wanted to play a four, a five or a six – it’s up to him.

It’s the same for us this season – we've been playing some decent football so in some games, teams have gone man for man with us. We have to deal with it.

We play against teams who give us no space in the penalty area so we have to come up with something different to affect the match. I have no problem with managers doing everything they can to make sure they get the points.

I understand that Gary Neville wants to watch attractive football and Pep Guardiola wants to play it but Benitez isn’t going to do that because he doesn’t want to lose 5-0.

I don’t remember Neville complaining with Jose Mourinho setting up Manchester United the way he did at Liverpool and City because he knows they’re better on the counter.

On another point, Mourinho coming in and saying he hasn’t had enough money to spend is a bit strange, with the fees he’s been paying, plus wages. Sign the right players!

Email:

barrie.white@nwn.co.uk

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