One to Watch - Michu
Name: Miguel Michu
Date of Birth: 21/3/1986
Former Clubs: Real Oviedo, Celta, Rayo Vallecano
League Appearances (Goals): 290 (66)
International Appearances (Goals): 0 (0)
Stat of the Day: Michu has scored only one goal in his last 686 minutes of Premier League football. Before this run, he had averaged a goal every 115 minutes.
Player Profile: Question marks were instantly raised over Swansea City following the departures of Brendon Rodgers, Joe Allen and Scott Sinclair and arrivals of Michael Laudrup, Chico Flores and Michu over the summer. Could such a dramatic change in structure reproduce the superb results produced last season? Few would have predicted the fantastic job Laudrup has managed thus far; add to that the impressive performances from Swansea`s new recruits, none more so than Spanish signing Michu, and it is not hard to see why Swansea are in a League Cup final and sitting comfortably in 8th position in the league. With 16 goals in all competitions and a string of impressive performances acquired for just £2.2 million, it is easy to see why Michu has been branded 'bargain of the season` - for me Julio Cesar gets that accolade, but anybody signed for under £10 million these days can be described as a bargain.
Michu`s virtues are different to that of the typical Spanish player - his intelligence and reading of the game are far superior to any dazzling skills or flair he possesses. Having been deployed on the left of an attacking trident in his early days in Spain, it was previous club Rayo that shifted the 26-year-old into a more central position. Swansea have profited hugely from this unearthing of a more familiar position for Michu, as the attacking midfielder has flourished in both a central attacking role and often as the lone striker. Despite penning a deal to keep him in South Wales until 2016, the Spaniard`s exploits have seen him linked with a big-money move away from the Swans. If he does indeed leave the club after helping them to their first major honour in English football, his departure is likely to be forgiven however.
Michu was born in Spain and grew up playing for local side Real Oviedo, along with now fellow Premier League counterparts Santi Cazorla and Juan Mata. When the club, once a La Liga team, fell into financial turmoil in 2003 they lost Cazorla and Mata; however, Michu remained and played 100 times for the first team in the second and third division. (Cazorla, Mata and Michu recently put a considerable amount of money into the team to save the club). It was Michu`s loyalty that endeared him to his fans, however his potential was soon realised and he moved to Celta Vigo in 2007. Midway through his first season he received a first team call up and went on to make over 100 appearances for the side, scoring 14 goals.
In 2011, after his contract with Celta had expired, Michu signed a two-year deal with Rayo Vallecano, who were freshly promoted to the top division. He finished as the joint-ninth top goalscorer in his first season, the highest scoring midfielder in the whole league, with 15 league goals. Rayo`s tactical wisdom was not matched in the contractual department however, and the two year deal with a cheap buy-out clause given to the Spaniard was to Swansea`s advantage, as Michael Laudrup made Michu his third signing since he arrived at The Liberty Stadium.
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