Carlos Carvalhal has admitted he will be fishing for small fry when he casts Swansea City’s net in the January transfer waters.
The Swans manager will hold further talks with chairman Huw Jenkins to determine how heavily he can bait the hook, but the Portuguese had a characteristically colourful metaphor to illustrate how he does not expect to be given much cash.
Carvalhal evoked memories of Eric Cantona’s famous “when the seagulls follow the trawler” address in 1995 when he compared Swansea’s forthcoming transfer activity to buying fish.
“We have money for sardines and I’m thinking lobster,” Carvalhal said ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup third round trip to Wolves.
“I will do my best to try and bring in the best players.
“I will look to the lobsters and sea bass, but if not we must buy sardines.
“But sometimes the sardines can win games.
“We can change to a different level sometimes. It’s not a question of money – it’s a question of opportunity and the quality of the players.”
Swansea, bottom of the Premier League, and runaway Sky Bet Championship leaders Wolves are separated by only one place in English football’s pyramid.
But Wolves are backed by Chinese conglomerate Fosun International and have invested heavily in Nuno Espirito Santo’s playing squad.
Swansea, meanwhile, have failed to adequately strengthen their playing resources following the summer sales of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Fernando Llorente and Jack Cork.
“It is not an easy situation in this moment for us about money, the market and the situation we have in the competition,” Carvalhal said.
“Not all players would come to a team that’s fighting like us to stay in the competition.
“I talked with the chairman (Huw Jenkins) and we will have another conversation after Saturday once other players are involved.
“The first conversation was OK, we need cover in positions, the chairman knows this and we must check players.
“I don’t deal with money, if I see a player I like I will say to the chairman and I will analyse if he’s good or not.
“But don’t ask me if the players will be worth £10, £20 or £20 million because it’s not my job, and I prefer it like that.
“I am a person for the football and I talk about players.”
Despite Wolves’ spending off the pitch and fine form on it – Nuno’s side are 12 points clear at the top of the Championship – former Sheffield Wednesday boss Carvalhal insists his team are not underdogs at Molineux.
“Wolves is not a typical club from the Championship, in my time in the Championship they were the best team I saw,” Carvalhal said.
“I believe they would be competitive in the Premier League.
“They have players who played often in the Portuguese top flight in the first team.
“Diogo Jota was at Atletico Madrid, others have played for Benfica and Monaco so the players do not belong to the Championship.
“The correct place for these players is the Premier League, but I don’t agree that they are favourites.
“I think it is 50-50 like all the teams that go away from home to a Championship club as the tempo is higher, the players run more and it makes it difficult.”