Nowadays, it’s quite a rare thing to acquire a player of high calibre for anything less than a few million, maybe more. But try telling that to Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup who, in the summer, shrewdly secured the services of Spanish midfielder-cum-striker Michu from Rayo Vallecano for a bargain figure of only £2 million.
The lanky Spaniard has quickly set about repaying the fee, racing to 10 goals in only 15 Premier League games; finding the net with 25% of his shots on goal. This is a ratio that even makes a mockery of the likes of Robin van Persie (he too is in terrific form) who has scored from 20% of his shots this season. But this isn’t just a stats game, Michu has contributed more than just goals to the Swansea cause this campaign with Laudrup’s men finding a real outlet in their early season form. Take their fixture against Arsenal at the Emirates on Saturday last weekend – with time running out and Gunners legs tiring, the 26-year old found extra reserves of energy to conjure up two goals – both excellent finishes – to win the game for the south Wales side.
You could say that Swansea may have been cursing the loss of Gylfi Sigurdsson in the summer with the midfield playmaker impressing in his loan spell at the Liberty Stadium last year but ultimately choosing to join Spurs. Michael Laudrup didn’t hang around in the close season though, making key additions to the squad, one of which was the free-scoring Spaniard – fresh off the back of a very positive season with La Liga side Vallecano. In fact, he was the highest scoring midfielder in the division last season with 15 goals to his name, signing on a free from Celta Vigo only 12 months previously. Laudrup was quick to spot his talent, stating in July: ‘We’re talking about a player that scored 15 goals for a small team in the Spanish league’.
Two goals on his Swansea debut against QPR in a 5-0 win rubber-stamped his arrival and this was quickly followed with goals in the following weeks against West Ham United and Sunderland. To say he hit the ground running was an understatement; his intelligent movement, excellent close control and finishing (both aerially and on the deck) all proved to be quite exemplary and, after a short spell in which he failed to find the net, he has now bagged four goals in his last four games and looks to be cooking on gas. Swansea’s ascent up the table is in no small thanks to Michu’s goalscoring exploits, which have led to whispers about him being possibly touted for a move to a bigger club.
The Swans’ boss has moved quickly to quash any rumours about the Spanish goalscorer making an early departure from the club in the impending January transfer window, slapping a whopping £30 million price tag on his head and making reference to Joe Allen’s departure to Liverpool for half of that price. The Dane, speaking after the 2-0 win over Arsenal, stated: ‘We have the example of what Liverpool paid for Joe Allen. If they have to pay double for Michu, there are few clubs who can afford that. Joe went to Liverpool and you know more or less what they paid for him. But a guy who has scored many goals must be worth a lot more, so you work out the figures.’
Very high praise indeed from the manager but it should also act as a warning sign to potential suitors who may be wading in come January – this man is going nowhere. You would certainly hope that Michu continues his scoring form and he continues it at Swansea. How often is it you hear about a player signing for £2 million and helping a relatively small club to a successful season in the Premier League without being prised away too soon? Almost never. It will be difficult for the club to keep their hands on such a hot prospect, despite what Laudrup says. Heck of a player, heck of a season for Swansea… so far.
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