Magpies part ways with Hughes

Magpies part ways with Hughes

Published Jan. 7, 2013 1:15 p.m. ET

Ajax have confirmed that former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam will join the club's coaching staff in July.

The 40-year-old, who won the Champions League with United in 1999, has signed a three-year contract.

Stam, who won 67 caps for Holland and also played for Lazio and AC Milan, finished his career at Ajax in 2007.

Michu's arrival from Rayo Vallecano barely caused any interest at the time, but the Spaniard has gone on to become one of the biggest success stories this term.


With just over half of the season gone, the ?2million forward has bagged an impressive 13 Premier League goals, a record only bettered by Robin van Persie and Luis Suarez, who cost a combined total of nearly ?50million.

Yet as Newcastle have seen with Demba Ba recently, success brings suitors and several clubs have been linked with a move for the 26-year-old.

Coleman, who played nearly 200 times for the Swans, thinks Michu will stay at the club this month, but admits it will be hard for manager Michael Laudrup to keep the player at the Liberty Stadium thereafter.

"It won't be easy for them to keep hold of him," said Coleman, who was speaking at an event to publicise Swansea's Capital One Cup semi-final against Chelsea.

"If any player at Swansea City is performing like Michu is then the big boys are going to look, and if they want you enough they will pay the money.

"As much as Swansea want to keep him, they won't be able to say no to that. They might say he is not for sale, but everyone is for sale at a price.

"A lot of people will say he remains an unknown entity, but if he repeats what he is doing then that is when the danger will come.

"That is when one of the bigger teams will probably take a chance on him."

Swansea, who sit ninth in the Premier League, are hoping to add yet more sparkle to their impressive season over the next fortnight by reaching the Capital One Cup final.

The Swans beat Barnsley, Crawley, Liverpool and Middlesbrough to reach the semi-finals, where they face European champions Chelsea.

Although the Blues are blessed with a star-studded multi-million pound squad, Coleman thinks Swansea have a good chance of making their first cup final trip to Wembley if they keep the tie alive following Wednesday's first leg at Stamford Bridge.

"Chelsea are looking strong but Swansea have been playing good football for the last six or seven years," Coleman said.

"It won't be an easy game for Chelsea. Swansea have a good chance of getting through.

"They have proven that they can beat anyone. If they get beaten 1-0 it's not the end of the world.

"That would put them in a good position because not many people like coming to the Liberty Stadium.

"Swansea have 29 points in the Premier League so it won't be a big upset if they win."

Bentley expects to do limited business this January following the capture of free agent Ryan Williams but feels a good display against Dagenham could inspire locals to return as paying punters and boost the Shrimps' coffers.

"It's a chance to get the community behind the team and see if we can generate some atmosphere," Bentley told BBC Radio Lancashire.

"The situation that the club's in is not ideal. Everyone's feeling the pinch and attendances haven't been what we predicted.

"We're not in a position to go out and get players. We've got to work with what we've got and we've got a squad that will give their all.

"It will be great if we can get a good number (of fans) in and, as I say, they can come back as paying customers. It's the town's football club and we need more and more people to back it."

Sodje left previous club Preston last month and is reunited with Iron boss Brian Laws, who signed him during his spell in charge of Sheffield Wednesday in August 2007.

The 32-year-old is Laws' first permanent signing since his return to the club as manager in October.

Sodje, who scored seven goals in 17 games this season after joining Preston on a free transfer in the summer, has appeared for 14 different clubs since signing his first professional contract with QPR in 2001.

He is expected to be included in Laws' squad for Saturday's League One clash at Colchester.

Hughes almost left Meadow Lane in November but his protracted move to Port Vale did not go through before the deadline for loan deals.

The 36-year-old joined the Magpies on a free transfer from Oldham in the summer of 2009 and went on to make 146 appearances for the club, scoring 66 goals during a spell that included winning the League Two title in his debut season.

However, Hughes has found first-team opportunities limited this season.

Director Aileen Trew said of Hughes' departure: "When a player has scored so many goals and become such an icon at a club, it is always difficult to see them leave, especially when they still have something to offer the club.

"I'd like to sincerely thank Lee for the part he has played in bringing success to this club during his time with at Meadow Lane.

"A real character, Hughsey's been a pleasure to work with and to watch on the pitch as he worked his magic with the original Magpies. I'd like to wish Lee and his family all the very best as he moves on to pastures new."