Laird has had a successful first half of the season with the South Wales based side. He has become a fan favourite after becoming a perfect replacement for the recently departed Connor Roberts. The 20 year old made a massive impact after signing for manager Russell Martin having previously spent the season with him at MK Dons.
Primarily featuring on the right side of midfield Laird has been able to develop both his attacking and defending ability in Swansea’s new system. The youngster has managed three assists this season but his 373 completed accurate passes has been key to Swansea’s style of play this season.
With it looking likely that Laird will be heading to the ‘Cherries’ it will be interesting to see how he will be used in their very different style of system. Bournemouth primarily use a four back which means Laird would primarily be deployed in the right back position. He will have to be more solid in his defensive qualities and will be required to track back more to support the backline.
Although Laird may now be going to a side where he will have to compete more for his position with current right back Jack Stacey. The move to Bournemouth will more than likely be a huge positive in terms of development. Having been able to develop his attacking ability at Swansea it will be key to focus on the defensive areas of his game in the second half of the season.
Ralf Rangnick will have been told about the youngster by former coach Kieran McKenna and will have had time to have caught up with his progress at Swansea. By making the mid-season switch it gives Rangnick the chance to see if Laird could mold into a right back who could compete for the first team spot next season.
It looks like a well thought out and strategic plan to maximise the development for Laird, having a season in which he can gain experience in a competitive league whilst playing the two different roles to fulfil his potential in his position is a smart move by United’s coaches.
Dean Henderson is one of the current first team players who was able to develop with time spent in the Championship. Henderson became a standout player for Sheffield United during his time at the Blades, with the second tier being a great place for young talents like Laird to be able to gain valued experience before returning to their parent club.
Laird now has six months to impress at a promotion pushing Bournemouth with Rangnick and his staff keeping a close eye on him, should he keep impressing and live up to the expectations then United could very well have a new first team contender for right back next season.