Sport blog: Laudrup is tale of one that got away

THE history of every club is littered with tales of the ones that got away.

Had things been different, Peter Crouch could have been a Burnley player before his days as an established England international. Andre Villas-Boas even applied for the manager’s job.

At Blackburn Rovers, the stories of how Zinedine Zidane and Roy Keane might have moved to Ewood Park during the Jack Walker era are well known.

More recently, Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League star Robert Lewandowski is one of those that Rovers came close to signing for a fraction of what he would be worth now.

If Michael Laudrup guides Swansea to a League Cup triumph at Wembley next month, then perhaps his name might be added to the list.

Laudrup had been linked with a number of Premier League jobs in recent years, before Swansea made their move in the summer.

Many were not sure whether his abilities as a manager matched his obvious class as a player with Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus and Denmark.

Rovers, though, took his interest in the club’s managerial vacancy very seriously when Mark Hughes left for Manchester City in 2007.

Paul Ince, Steve McClaren and Sam Allardyce were all in the running for the job but then chief executive John Williams also travelled to Zurich to meet Laudrup.

At the time the Dane had guided unfancied Getafe to the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup.

“In 20 years of working in football I have not come across a chairman as impressive as John Williams,” Laudrup’s agent, Bayram Tutumlu, said at the time.

In the end Rovers opted for Ince, though, and Laudrup took over at Spartak Moscow months later. Laudrup lasted only marginally longer in Russia than Ince did at Ewood.

It would have been interesting to see what would have happened had Laudrup become Rovers boss.

It is hard not to admire his style of play and his measured approach – and the way that, like at Getafe, he is delivering virtually unprecedented success at a club with few real stars.

Maybe it would not have worked out between him and Venky’s either. We will never know.

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