Too good for Swansea City already?

Michu, Swansea forward

When a player arrives from abroad for a minimal fee and makes a significant impact then he is bound to turn a few heads. Swansea City’s inspired signing of Michu from Rayo Vallecano has lead to many plaudits, and rightly so as he has arguably been the signing of the season.

The Spaniard has had a terrific campaign so far, netting 13 league goals and helping the Swans to the Capital One Cup final, scoring in the first leg of the tie against Chelsea which saw them reach the showpiece event against giant killers Bradford City.

His form has lead to him being touted for his first senior call up to the Spanish squad as well as many rumours about other clubs expressing an interest in signing him. Michu however quashed these rumours by signing a contract extension at the Liberty stadium and in my opinion this could be a blessing in disguise for both himself and any of his supposed admirers who were looking to poach him.

The forward was quoted in the Guardian as saying, “I’ve read and listened to all the speculation, but it doesn’t interest me, and that’s why I’ve signed a new contract. I’m enjoying myself too much because the team always tries to play football. All I think about is the next game and helping Swansea to be successful. This is my life.”

He has had a very good first half to the season but that isn’t enough in my opinion to justify paying the double figure prices that were put on his head. It is easy to jump on the hype of a player, especially with the media playing its part, in the same fashion a player is criticised when they struggle for form.

It can’t be forgotten that before his prolific spell at La Liga side Rayo Vallecano, Michu endured a relatively uninspiring three years at Celta Vigo. He has also failed to impress enough to be capped by Spain at any level, and although there are many top players that will get overlooked by Spain due to the embarrassment of riches at their disposal, it is still an interesting point.

We have also seen it many times where a player has come into a new club and done excellently, earning himself a move to a bigger club where it just doesn’t quite work, and effectively damages their career. Gylfi Sigurdsson would be an excellent example for me, with him impressing at Swansea himself before landing a move to Tottenham in the summer. While it is far too early to consider him a failure at the North London club as he hasn’t had a long run of games yet and is still young, it shows the point that sometimes a player is better off staying put.

In my opinion Sigurdsson looked every bit as impressive in the half a season he played for the Welsh club last season as Michu has so far this campaign. The Icelandic playmaker netted seven times, while providing five assists in just under 17 games worth of football in the league. He has however struggled for starts at Tottenham where he would have planned to take over the creative reigns from the departed Luka Modric. Andy Carroll’s big money move to Liverpool is just another among many examples of the risks that judging a player too soon can carry.

There are several reasons for occurrences such as this, and sometimes it’s as simple as a club just being a perfect fit for a player or that after the initial element of surprise, teams work out how to deal with their threat. There is also the ‘big fish in a small pond’ theory that clubs need to be wary of. Without disrespecting Swansea who are a terrific club and have done excellently this season, producing the kind of form Michu has for them, for a team chasing Champions League qualification or major honours is a different ball game. Some players just strive off being the main man at a club.

I am certainly not dismissing Michu’s ability to step up and deliver for one of the top teams but I am just putting a cautious slant on what in my opinion is a slightly simplistic belief by some that he was good enough to move on from Swansea already. After all, who would have predicted Papiss Cisse’s drastic change of fortunes in a Newcastle shirt after the start he made following his January arrival last season? I don’t think many, including myself did.

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