Michael Laudrup has refused to settle with an impressive first half of the season from Swansea City, and that is shown with the loan signing of Roland Lamah from Osasuna. The 25-year-old Belgian has arrived at first on an 18 month loan, with a view to sign. Although Lamah's stock has fallen somewhat since his early days at the Pamplona based outfit, there is clear belief from Laudrup that form can be recaptured in the Premier League. Pablo Hernandez was a similar case, growing stale with life at Valencia.
Lamah's problems with Osasuna stemmed from a system point of view, as the Belgian looked out of place in a team who focus heavily on long balls, and less on associative play.
The belief from many is Lamah's qualities are better suited to the Premier League, and it's hard to disagree. A left winger, who in the past has also played on right, he can operate in both deep and advanced areas with a game built on a direct, quick, and skilful nature. Lamah is by no means incredibly technically astute; instead he looks to run at defenders beating them with an explosion of pace and power.
Many wingers now look to cut inside at most opportunities into central areas, but during his time in Spain Lamah seldom did so, instead retaining width for the team and hugging the touchline. In terms of speed, few will be able to match him in the league, and this is an area Laudrup will highlight as key for his counter attacking based game.
Swansea under the Dane have already shown in some of their finest moments, the wins over Chelsea and Arsenal for example, they are open to allowing the opponent to have possession and with the aim of countering. Lamah will provide a shot in the arm to these movements, and will not procrastinate on the ball, as he aims to go for the opponents’ throat.
Defensively he helps out too, supporting his full-back and coming deep to provide pressure on the ball. Such is the extent of his physical activity, Lamah can wear himself out and on many occasions he's been taken off with 25-30 minutes left in games. Other than that, he's been used as an impact substitute. Stamina is certainly an issue, and how he could save his energy for more important parts of the game. Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney acknowledged in recent years they had to change their approach, due to fear of burnout.
Lamah's main issues though remain with his combination play. There is an individualistic streak in his game, and also a problem of poor decision making in the final third. It could be cited his goalscoring record is none too impressive (49 games, with just three goals scored since arriving in 2011/2012), but that might not be key if he’s more of a cog in the works, than final piece.
If Laudrup can use him in the right manner however and harness the obvious qualities, then Swansea will have another string for their fine counter-attacking bow.