Date:Monday June 9 2008
Swansea City manager Roberto Martinez believes it is becoming easier to attract talent from his homeland in the wake of influx of Spanish players in recent seasons.
Adding to the growing Spanish armada at the club in the last week have been the signings Jordi Gomez on a season long loan from Espanyol and Gorka Pintado on a permanent move from Grenada CF. Highly rated, both players have a excellent goal scoring record and an attacking prowess that will see them fit in well with Roberto Martinez's brand of football.
Gomez and Pintado will join fellow countrymen Andrea Orlandi, Guillem Bauzá and Ángel Rangel at the club. Dubbed "the three amigos" the trio have settled well into the British way of life and have earned rave reviews from pundits and fans alike. However it has not been an easy road for last summers new recruits.
Guillem Bauzá has had to fight of stern criticism over his early performances at the club but as the season progressed the former Espanyol B player turned on the style. His pivotal brace at Gillingham ensured Swansea gained promotion to the second tier of British football for the first time in 24 years. Not content with a brace of goals the striker claimed his first hat trick for the club against Leyton Orient on the 26th April.
Whilst Angel Rangel has won rave reviews for his performances at right back (that even earned him a place in the PFA's league one team of the season), Andrea Orlandi has had a stop start season with the club. Taking some time to settle in South Wales, the former Barcelona midfielder took a little longer to break into the first team.
Heartbreak followed for the midfielder after being sidelined for over three months with a knee injury sustained against Brighton on the 8th January.
Swansea City officials will hope that the expected coverage of the high profile friendly against Espanyol on Friday the 25th July will put the club firmly on the map. With the game being televised on Spanish channels it has all the hallmarks of being a profile raiser for Swansea City and is something that Roberto Martinez hopes will continue increasing the clubs stature in Spain.
Martinez Told The SWEP:
|"Swansea City have been followed very closely in the past 10 months in Spain - our reputation grows day by day. It is a lot easier now (to attract players). We have got players that would love to come to us while 10 months ago it was difficult to sell the challenge. It helps when you've got good cases like Ángel, Bussy and Andrea (Orlandi). In my eyes they are already 50 per cent Welsh.|
The friendly match is also important. It shows how much television are excited about seeing Espanyol play Swansea. The representation of Swansea is very big in Spain. We need to make sure it keeps growing."
Date:Monday June 9 2008
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