Josh Kilmister on what the Swans could look to do with Michu when his current loan deal ends
After making his loan exit to Naples in the Summer, the name ‘Michu’ has gone very, very quiet both in South Wales and around the country - where only two years ago his name couldn’t have been spoken in a more positive tone. The post-Burnley episode of ‘The Jack Cast’ (link) saw his name mentioned for probably the first time since Napoli fans took to Twitter to vent their frustrations about their signing of the injury prone forward in the early stages of the season.
But despite all the negativity surrounding his attitude when he left, hearing his name again made me realise something – I really, really miss him.
That’s why it makes me so angry that a talent like him was allowed to fight through the pain barrier, instead of doing the sensible thing and taking a few months out. It was rumoured on his return from injury that he had been told that he would never be able to play Premier League football again, and unless there is a dramatic change in fortune for the Spaniard, this looks to be the case.
I’ve only really followed the Swans since our last season in League Two so maybe I don’t really have the right to say what I’m about to say [You are! - Ed], but I think a fully fit Michu was one of, if not the best finisher our club has ever seen. His debut season in the Premier League was something of real beauty, and his £2m price tag made it all the more dumbfounding.
Eighteen Premier League goals. Nine with his left foot, three with his right and six with his head. He really was the complete modern day forward. Everything from his never-say-die attitude towards his football to his famous celebration that become a favourite among the Swansea faithful was pretty damn near perfect for an entire season, and that was when it all went wrong.
The ligaments in his ankle gave in and the pressure put on him by Michael Laudrup didn’t help. Put that together with a fully fit Wilfried Bony breathing down his neck, Michu never really found the form that saw him take fifth in the Premier League top scorers table – outscoring the likes of Sergio Aguero, Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge.
With the players we have in our side now, I see myself dreaming of what could have been had Michu stayed fit. Whether Garry Monk is a fan is debatable, but if there could have been a way to fit Bony, Sigurdsson and Michu into a fully functioning attack then I don’t think there would be many sides of our stature outscoring us.
Of course it’s never over until it’s over, but for Michu to make a Swansea return next season is something of an impossibility. While his injury stands in the way of him holding down a place in any decent side, I’m not sure his head will ever be at Swansea as much as it once was. We gave him a chance in the limelight and he took it, but the way he was managed under Laudrup is, in my opinion, as much to blame for his ankle injuries than his constant kicking of the electronic advertising boards whenever he scored.
He has made started just three games for Napoli this season, featuring for a total of just 229 minutes, so the chances of them making his loan deal permanent don’t look great. Rumours also emerged today claiming he'd left his flat in Italy and his car had been parked in the training ground for months. I can only assume that the Spaniard will return to Swansea in the summer to hold talks with Monk and Co. to see exactly where he stands, and there are a few options.
- We could hold onto him for the remaining year of his contract and hope that at the very minimum he doesn’t cause an upset in the camp, and maybe make the odd appearance should his ankle allow him to do so.
- We terminate his contract. As harsh as it sounds, this is definitely an option – a very expensive one at that. Michu is probably one of our higher earners, so the costs of axing his contract would be costly.
- Lastly - and this is the most likely scenario; we could try and find him a new club. While it’s unlikely that Michu would cut it in the Premier League anymore, there might be a club similar to Real Vallecano (who we originally signed Michu from) that might be willing to gamble on him.
In an ideal world, we recoup the £2m we paid for the Spaniard and go our separate ways, but I think in this situation the interests of the player need to be in mind just as much as those of the club. Sure, he’s made it clear that he doesn’t want to be here and maybe this is just me being a soft touch, but for someone who offered us so much – albeit for a shorter period than he would’ve liked – if only getting back half of what we paid for him means he can start afresh in Spain, then so be it.
The signing of Michu brought us to a whole new level in the Premier League. Had we not done that, then I think we’d be looking at a very different club today.
You can follow Josh on twitter @JoshKilmister