Thursday 18 December 2014

Ki: Future was bleak under Laudrup

Published 29/08/2014 | 19:21

Ki Sung-yueng is enjoying a new lease of life at Swansea
Ki Sung-yueng is enjoying a new lease of life at Swansea

Swansea midfielder Ki Sung-yueng has revealed he might have left the club had Michael Laudrup stayed as manager.

Ki signed a new four-year deal on Thursday as the South Korea international completed a remarkable reversal in fortunes at the Liberty Stadium.

Signed for a then club-record fee of £5.5million from Celtic in August 2012, Ki was part of the Swansea side which won the Capital One Cup the following February and finished ninth in the Premier League.

But he then fell out of favour under Laudrup - who was sacked as Swansea manager in February - and was loaned out to Sunderland last season, where he helped the Black Cats reach the Capital One Cup final.

"I'm not sure if I would be here if he (Laudrup) was," Ki said ahead of the visit of West Brom on Saturday.

"If I have the chance to play maybe I stay, if not maybe I have to look at another opportunity because I just want to play in midfield.

"I don't want to stay on the bench every game."

Ki was linked to Aston Villa and Sunderland over the summer before Laudrup's successor Garry Monk persuaded the 25-year-old he was very much part of his Swansea plans.

"When I came back here this year a lot of things have changed and also the manager has changed," Ki said.

"I spoke to Garry and he said I was in his plans. He talked about tactics, how the team was going to play this season and he told me he wanted to play.

"I had a pre-season, played the first two games and I had to decide whether to stay.

"I had some options to go in the summer but my priority was to stay in Swansea because the philosophy is the same and I don't need to adapt."

Ki has been a vital part of Swansea's perfect start to the season, impressively filling the anchor role in midfield yet scoring his first goal for the club in the opening-day win at Manchester United.

And he believes his time out on loan at Sunderland has developed him into a better player.

"I had a very good time in Sunderland," he said. "I was in a cup final for two years in a row and I grew up more than in my first season at Swansea.

"Now I am in my third season I can show more about me. I can show everyone that Ki is back and still in Swansea because I didn't show it last year."

Monk might change a winning league line-up for the visit of West Brom.

New £8million defender Federico Fernandez made his debut in the much-changed Capital One Cup side against Rotherham in midweek and stands by to replace Jordi Amat for his Premier League bow as Swansea seek to build on opening wins over Manchester United and Burnley.

Swansea are still without knee victims Marvin Emnes and Leon Britton, the veteran midfielder having suffered a further fitness blow this week when told he would need a scan in three weeks' time before he could get the all-clear to play again.

Georgios Samaras must wait for his West Brom debut with the striker yet to regain match fitness.

The former Celtic forward will not play against the Swans and will instead go away with Greece over the international break, where Hawthorns head coach Alan Irvine hopes he will get some game time with his country.

Fellow new signings Silvestre Varela and Joleon Lescott are also unavailable as they strive for fitness, while Sebastien Pocognoli is a doubt with hip and groin problems.

Press Association

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