Swansea City boss Michael Laudrup has opened up on the January sale of Danny Graham as he seeks to invest that cash to strengthen his squad.
Laudrup’s future has been the subject of speculation in the last few days amid suggestions of a split over transfer plans between manager and board.
The Dane’s agent, Bayram Tutumulu, has challenged Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins to deliver on his summer spending “promise” with Premier League rivals planning to use the extra TV revenue to invest heavily in their playing squads.
Tutumulu said Laudrup signed a contract extension in March on the back of pledges from the Swansea board about summer transfer funds.
Laudrup, however, is keen to stay at Swansea and marshall the club’s Europa League campaign, using the £5m cash from Graham’s departure to Sunderland as part of his summer war chest as he aims to sign as many as seven players.
“I know there was a lot of talk when we sold Danny and didn’t bring in anyone,” Laudrup reflected on Graham’s return to his native north east.
“We wanted to bring in someone in on loan, but it was not possible.
“So I could have kept Danny here, but he would have been unhappy because he really wanted to go.
“The club got a lot of money for him which we can spend now in the summer on a permanent deal for someone else.”
Graham’s sale now looks like a masterstroke as far as Laudrup and Swansea are concerned.
Although the 27-year-old scored four goals in as many games straight after Christmas – including a precious League Cup strike in the 2-0 semi-final victory at Chelsea – Graham has failed to find the net in 13 appearances for the Black Cats.
Furthermore, Graham’s fitness – or rather the lack of it – was highlighted by new Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio and the grapevine has buzzed with the suggestion that he could be reunited with his former Watford boss Malky Mackay at Cardiff City.
Mackay has distanced himself from those reports, while Laudrup accepts it was a “risk” to let Graham leave in January with no cover for the free-scoring Michu.
“It was a risk selling Graham if Michu had got injured for a month and a half at the same time,” admitted Laudrup.
“But it didn’t and things went well.
“Sometimes you have to risk things, but it’s like that when you’re on the pitch.
“You take risks, but you have to calculate why I’m doing it and for what purpose.
“It’s not just because you wake up in the morning and feel that way.
“He’s happy where he is right now, the club got a lot of money which they can spend and we survived in terms of goals.”
Asked whether subsequent developments had proved him right, Laudrup replied: “When the offer came in I spoke to Danny and he said ‘I really want to go.’
“He wanted to go back where he is from and he was not playing regularly here.
“If I had gone safe just for the rest of this season and I kept him we could have used him.
“But I had a player who was not playing regularly and who really wanted to go.
“If he stayed here he would not have had the possibility to go there after – and he didn’t want to go to other clubs.
“So I think it would have been a mistake to keep him here.”
“I admit then it was a risk not to bring anyone in, we had one or two but at the last moment it wasn’t possible.
“One was a player who already plays in the Premier League and the other was a player from a club in Spain.
“But for one reason or another they couldn’t come, only if we bought them for quite a lot of money.
“And I didn’t want to do that because I wanted to bring in other players in the summer.”
Meanwhile, defender Jazz Richards has returned to Swansea at the end of a Crystal Palace loan spell which saw the Eagles win promotion to the Premier League.
Richards, 22, made 11 appearances for Palace after joining them in January but was an unused substitute as the Eagles won the Championship play-off final on Monday, beating Watford 1-0 at Wembley.