Swansea City have completed a bargain £2 million deal for Rayo Vallecano midfielder Michu, 26, according to SkySports.com.
Michu—real name Miguel Perez Cuesta—becomes new Swans boss Michael Laudrup’s third summer signing, following the astute purchases of centre-back Chico Flores, 25, and attacking midfielder Jonathan De Guzman, 24.
And this is what the Danish manager had to say on his latest recruit (h/t SkySports):
It’s a fantastic signing. We are talking about a player who scored 15 goals in the Spanish league last year for a small club, who were saved by the bell in the last minute of the last game to avoid relegation.
He was a big difference for them with his goals.
We lost (Gylfi) Sigurdsson, who played in that position for half a season, so to sign a player like Michu is fantastic for us when you look at the price and quality of the player.
It is a bargain.
When you see the big newspapers in Spain and people commentating on how we can sign a player like that for such a small amount of money, then the Spanish economy must be really bad.
It’s a very difficult moment for clubs in Spain in general and this signing shows that.
No doubt the signing of Michu is a big transfer coup for Swansea, especially seeing as Liverpool and Manchester United were also linked with the Spaniard.
Will Michu Be a Success at Swansea City?
Will Michu Be a Success at Swansea City?
And at £2 million the player, as Laudrup says, is a bargain—especially when TransferMarkt.co.uk rate him at £5.3 million.
However, there is a reason why only Swansea were the biggest club to swoop for him and why he cost such a small fee.
For a start his contract ran out in June 2013, and at 26 years of age he doesn’t offer a huge resale value.
Also, while he may have scored 15 goals in La Liga last season, and logic would state that he now has the potential to progress further, there’s always the chance he could’ve hit his peak.
After all, this is the first time in the player’s career he has scored more than 10 goals in a season, and at 26, it’s hard to tell whether he just got lucky with the right circumstances or actually has the potential to replicate such form in the seasons ahead.
The 2011-12 season was also Michu’s first in the top-flight, and he clearly benefited from being the main man at Rayo Vallecano, and having everything go his way.
He’s never played outside of Spain or experienced another style of play, so whether he has the experience to adapt to Premier League football—both in matches and training with his teammates—remains to be seen.
And at his age, if he can’t immediately adapt, the time to acquire and learn from that experience so he can make a significant impact in the first-team, is running out.
Plus, there’s a reason why Gylfi Sigurdsson—the man Michu has been signed to replace—cost almost quadruple the amount spent on Michu.
Based purely on footballing terms, Sigurdsson was such a success at Swansea thanks to his playmaking ability.
In 18 league matches, he scored seven goals and made three assists, as well as setting up teammates a further 50 times (h/t WhoScored?).
In 37 league matches, Michu scored 15 goals, and also made three assists, setting up teammates a further 40 times (h/t WhoScored?).
Had Sigurdsson spent a season at Swansea, his stat sheet would invariably read like this: P 36 G 14 A 6 KP (key pass) 100.
Compare that Michu’s stat sheet in a league where it is easier to score or create goals: P 37 G 15 A 3 KP 40.
While Michu is a good goalscoring midfielder, his goal tally hides how average he is at doing the job he’s meant to in his position, i.e. create goals.
Michu had more shots than any of his teammates last season, with his selfish eye for goal not helping the forwards such as Raul Tamudo, Andrija Delibasic, Dani Pacheco (who never really got a chance to develop on his loan spell from Liverpool) and even Diego Costa.
His great if one-dimensional finishing ability—which only works best when he can run on to the ball—hides his lack of creativity and eye for a key pass.
Of course though he’s not all bad, and with the way Swansea play, Michu will likely be able to capitalise on pockets of space created on the edge of the final third, providing his team with a goal threat that’s difficult for opposing defences to mark.
Signed to replace Gylfi Sigurdsson, Michu certainly won’t replicate the form of the Tottenham Hotspur and Iceland playmaker.
He will however match his ability to be a hard-to-mark goalscoring outlet for Swansea, and will add to the team a few goals in important moments.
While it’s clear to see why Michu ended up at Swansea City and for a fee of £2 million, the deal is nonetheless a bargain.
The Spaniard won’t take the Premier League by storm or make the Swans a better side, but he’ll get around 7-10 league goals, and they could end up being the difference for his team.