Caught Offside

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Michu: The One that Got Away

by Mark Apostolou

Michu Arsenal

The curious case of the Spaniard who can’t stop scoring.

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If a player scores 16 goals in a La Liga season and isn’t wearing Barcelona or Real Madrid colours one would have thought just about any side in the Premier League would be willing to meet Rayo Vallecano’s paltry £2m price-tag, so why were Swansea City seemingly the only side in the English top tier willing to take the ‘calculated risk’ and stump up the cash to sign the 26 year old attacker?

Premier League sides regularly pay exorbitant sums to bring in English talent with far less of an impressive CV than the former Oviedo man but felt that Michu was not a player worthy of their attention. Clearly their loss has become Swansea City’s gain. Liberty Stadium chairman Huw Jenkins has seen his side reap the rewards and may do so again if, as predicted, a ‘bigger’ side comes along and looks to buy the in-form marksman.

There is every chance the stylish Spaniard is happily using Swansea City as a springboard and could well consider offers if he felt a move was beneficial to his career. A first national team cap is on the cards and that too will add a million or two more to his valuation and whether it’s the pursuit of a top ten finish or a bigger financial reward, the South Wales side will do very well out of the deal that brought Michu to the club.

However the question remains. Why didn’t a side in the top six, or with ambitions of such a finish, not take an interest in Michu. Why are Premier League sides more than happy to fork out £10m+ for an England player with a semblance of potential but not a fraction of that fee on a player who has proven credentials from another top league.

Michu Scores

For some time it has become all to evident that ‘Buying British, Costs Dear’ in all senses of the word. Liverpool have found this out the hard way with Andy Carroll, and to a lesser extent, Jordan Henderson. Man City spent £24m on Joleon Lescott, a player of obvious ability but certainly not a player who should be in that price bracket.

Indeed perhaps more relevant was Roberto Mancini’s willingness to spend £6.2m on Swansea City attacker Scott Sinclair, a player who has barely played for the Premier League title holders and is just three years Michu’s junior.

Clearly one argument for the value of English players are UEFA’s homegrown player guidelines but that really doesn’t cut it as an excuse to pass up on a player of Michu’s abilities and shouldn’t mean Premier League sides bring in English players of questionable talent at an inflated price that bears literally no relation to what they have to offer.

By all accounts Tottenham, Fulham, Stoke, West Brom, West Ham and Aston Villa were all offered the chance to sign Michu as he was hawked out by his representatives.

Messrs Villas-Boas Jol, Pulis, Clarke, Allardyce and Lambert must all be kicking themselves as Michu has outscored the best attacking talents at all six clubs, his goal against Chelsea in the Capital One Cup semi-final victory taking his tally to 16 for the season.

Anyone remember another 26 year old foreign talent who was signed for a bargain price and went on to score goals at will? He went on to leave to make something of a name for himself at Old Trafford, goes by the first name Eric…..

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