Michu is out of the spotlight and underperforming, at least in comparison to what he did over the last two seasons. Maybe it’s second-season syndrome; maybe he was never that good in the first place. No. It is a natural dip in form and productivity that could work in other teams’ favour.
The Spanish forward was on the list of targets for Arsene Wenger during the summer. Swansea wouldn’t sell, understandably, with their valuation being in the region of £25 million. They know he’s not worth that on the market, so that price tag more or less acts as a not-for-sale sign. But what about now?
Michu has expressed his desire to play for a club competing in the Champions League, with Arsenal being one of the teams linked with the Spaniard.
Is he good enough for Arsenal, is the important question. The fact that he’s received a call up to the Spanish national team and looks more or less settled in English football is a good indicator. What can he bring to Wenger’s team? His size means he’d be able to offer a similar presence in the attack as currently provided by Olivier Giroud, and he’s arguably a better finisher. Not only that, Michu is a player who drives forward and can carry the ball too.
Arsene Wenger may feel that the team and overall the club are in need of a boost. It’s been a trying week for Arsenal, losing in Napoli, yet going through to the next round of the Champions League, and having their title credentials seriously questioned after the loss at Manchester City. The team need a boost, the fans want assurances, perhaps rightly so after the failure to properly address the striker department in the summer.
Nicklas Bendtner is the butt of all jokes. What people fail to see, however, is his talent as a footballer, instead focusing on his shortcomings and missteps away from the pitch. Nevertheless, he is still Denmark’s leading marksman, a forward who scored twice against Italy when the two sides met in October. He’s not the answer for Arsenal long term, but he’s an option for now.
The problem is it won’t do for some. Bendtner’s reputation away from the pitch precedes his ability on it. Look at his contribution against Manchester City. Giroud missed a handful of fantastic opportunities to add to Arsenal’s tally. Bendtner came on and put his first real chance away, only to be wrongly adjudged offside.
If Arsenal are to enter the market in January, they could do worse than Michu – though of course they could do much better, but only in the summer. The Swansea striker’s stock is down, he’s not catching the attention or imagination in the way he used to, and there could be a feeling at Swansea that now might be the right time to move him on and reinvest.
The fact that he was on Arsenal’s radar in the summer is a good sign, but he doesn’t fit the bill as the long-term addition the club need. The last thing Wenger needs to do is sign a player for the purpose of appeasing others. If a January signing is to take place, it needs to be with purpose and with long-term thinking in mind. Does Michu fit the bill?
The summer will more than likely see Arsenal spend again, adding to an already good squad. Due to the club’s financial capabilities and those available during the summer, Michu is more than likely to be an afterthought. He’s good, but will he lead a team to the league title? It’s unlikely.
The Spaniard may be looking to his own future as further up the Premier League ladder. For Arsenal, though, a partnership makes little sense beyond this season, despite Michu’s obvious qualities.