Michu

Photo by Harry Engels/Getty Images

Michu explains drop from Swansea City to Spanish fourth-tier (video)

Leave a comment

As we get ready for two massive Premier League matches and a clash for Europe between Liverpool and Man City, a sobering story from Wales.

There are few stories as odd as the rise and fall of Michu, and the striker went on Swans TV to give some clarity on how he went from 39 goals in two seasons to the fourth-tier of Spanish football.

[ MORE: Premier League Sunday preview | Saturday roundup ]

Michu, 29, used a 17-goal season at Rayo Vallecano to secure a move to Swans in 2012, and subsequently netted 22 times in all competitions (18 in the Premier League).

He scored as Swans knocked off Chelsea and then Bradford City to win the League Cup, and scored four times in Europa League, but ended up going to Napoli on loan before Swans canceled his contract last season.

So how does a player get to the fourth-tier from there? From Swans TV:

“When you live with a pain a long time and it doesn’t go away, some thoughts of quitting come into your mind. I could live without a lot of money and be happy but I would not be able to live without football. The day I would not be able to play again would be the saddest day of my life.”

Now certainly it wasn’t all debilitating ankle pain that caused Michu to leave Swans for Italy, but in retrospect this shows another side of the player. And considering he joined a pair of other Oviedo alums in giving money to keep them afloat a few years back, the game sure means a lot to the man.

Click to 4:38 on this video to learn more:

Former Swansea City striker Michu joins Spanish fourth division side

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Michu burst onto the scene at Swansea City in the 2012-13 season, scoring 22 goals in all competitions while helping lead the Swans to a League Cup title.

Now, he is getting ready to play for UP Langreo, a semi-professional side that plays in the fourth-tier of Spanish football.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

His fall from grace was quick. After a brilliant first season with Swansea in which he was named the club’s Player of the Year and earned his first cap for the Spanish national team, injuries hit and limited his playing time. His goal tally in the Premier League fell from 18 to 2 the next season, and he was eventually loaned out to Napoli in Serie A.

Another ankle injury held Michu to just five appearances for Napoli, as he was released from the Italian side after one year.

[ RELATED: Sunil Gulati addresses Jurgen Klinsmann’s job status with USMNT ]

After being told he was not a part of Swansea’s plans moving forward, Michu parted ways with the club by mutual consent earlier this week. He has now returned home to Spain to play for Langreo, who are managed by his brother Hernan.

One year ago, Michu was playing in the Champions League. Now, he will be playing in Spain’s Tercera Division, the fourth-tier of football that consists of 360 teams divided into 18 regional groups.

Bargain Bucket – A look at best free transfers & loans available from Adnan to Yedlin

2 Comments

While the world is focused on nine-figure megawatt transfers and the big-name clubs competing for them, several out-of-contract players and loan possibilities could help teams firm up their chances at everything from a Top 4 spot to Premier League safety.

So who are these names, and how much of a risk would they be?

[ MORE: Tuesday’s transfer rumor roundup ]

Joey Barton — The former QPR and Newcastle man is 32-years-old and has a combustible personality, but is certainly not among the top reasons the R’s were relegated last season. Could fill in the gaps as a minute-eater or final quarter substitute that adds a bit of steel to the side.

DeAndre Yedlin — Those in the know say the USMNT youngster is in high demand as a potential right wing on loan from Tottenham. Will he stay in England?

Ron Vlaar — The Villa man is out until the new year with a knee injury, but could see himself as anything from a lynchpin for a lower club’s defense to a depth move for old boss Louis van Gaal. His health will be a situation to monitor over the Fall months.

Dimitar Berbatov —  Fancy taking a chance on ‘The Incredible Sulk?’ The 34-year-old Bulgarian scored nine goals in 38 matches for AS Monaco last season, seven coming in Ligue 1 play.

Jonas Gutierrez — Certainly a ways off from his days as a plug-and-play midfielder for Newcastle, but the Argentine is a boon to any locker room and can give a lift to any midfield. Can play defender in a pinch, but does seem headed back to South America.

source: Getty Images
(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Adnan Januzaj (right) —  For a guy many have tipped for a surefire loan away from Old Trafford, the young Belgian has looked stronger, quicker and more confident this young season under Louis van Gaal… and more importantly he’s been on the pitch, too.

Wilson Palacios — Has the experience in English football if he’s willing to play an ancillary role. Otherwise, it’ll be off to the Championship if he wants to stay in England.

Yoan Gourcuff — Once a hot-button transfer target from Lyon, he has not signed for another club since his contract expired. At age 29, did he wait too long to come to England? Was linked with Arsenal earlier this window.

Michu —  Remember when he lit the Premier League on fire for a brief time with Swansea City? Well Garry Monk doesn’t want him around any more. Perhaps a loan move will do?

Also available for “free”: Oguchi Onyewu, Shola Ameobi, Cristian Ledesma, Carlton Cole.

Forty transfer targets for Premier League clubs in the summer window

1 Comment

The summer’s transfer window has already seen plenty of names, both big and small, change clubs.

From James Milner and Danny Ings heading to Liverpool to Spurs’ acquisition of Toby Alderweireld, the window didn’t wait long to allow movement. Really, it didn’t wait at all considering how many of these deals were in the news well before July 1.

[ MORE: Who will have a bigger MLS impact: Gerrard or Lampard? ]

Here at PST, we’ve decided to compile a list of the names that have been or will be bandied about before the window slams shut on Sept. 1.

A caveat, though: Some of these names have been through the ringer countless times, while others are “off the market”. That doesn’t mean they won’t move, though, as the summer moves ahead.

And no, before you even ask, No. 1 doesn’t mean we want that player more than the others. Not at all.

40. Glen Johnson, unattached
39. Stewart Downing, West Ham United
38. Nathan Dyer, Swansea City
37. Aleksandar Mitrovic, Anderlecht
36. Steven Fletcher, Sunderland
35. Abel Hernandez, Hull City
34. Ahmed Elmohamady, Hull City
33. Tom Huddlestone, Hull City
32. Matty Phillips, QPR

— The first batch ends with four players from relegated clubs. Hull has said Elmohamady is for sale, and Hernandez might not fetch a good return considering his tough season after being the Tigers’ record fee. Phillips’ crosses are a legit force.
31. Mario Balotelli, Liverpool
30. Michu, Swansea City
source: Getty Images29. Andros Townshend, Tottenham Hotspur
28. Adnan Januzaj, Manchester United

— Here’s a quartet of calculated risks. Surely Balotelli and Michu are better than their recent performances, and might be had for a song. The other two, Townsend and Janzuaj, may be overvalued and costly risks. Newcastle is said to have been quoted for $22 million for the mercurial Townsend.
27. Edinson Cavani, Paris Saint-Germain
26. Hugo Lloris, Tottenham Hotspur
25. Adrien Rabiot, Paris Saint-Germain
24. Nicolas Otamendi, Valencia
23. Ayoze Perez, Newcastle United
22. Ross Barkley, Everton
21. Bruno Martins Indi, Porto
20. Mauro Icardi, Inter Milan
19. Nicolas Gaitan, Benfica
18. Kevin De Bruyne, Wolfsburg
17. Karim Benzema, Real Madrid

— Most of the names are debatably for sale, and would come at a huge price.

16. Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Manchester United
15. Georginio Wijnaldum, PSV Eindhoven
14. Seamus Coleman, Everton
13. Jordy Clasie, Feyenoord
12. Davy Klaassen, Ajax
11. William Carvalho, Sporting CPsource: Getty Images
10. Arturo Vidal, Juventus
9. Edin Dzeko, Manchester City
8. Aymeric Laporte, Athletic Bilbao
7. Alexandre Lacazette, Lyon
6. Charlie Austin, Queens Park Rangers
5. Christian Benteke, Aston Villa
4. Morgan Schneiderlin, Southampton
3. Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid
2. Paul Pogba, Juventus
1. Raheem Sterling, Liverpool

Michu to Napoli: Considering Swansea’s fortunes after the Spaniard’s departure

Leave a comment

Spanish attacker Michu’s two-year stay in Wales appears to be over, though with yesterday’s move to Napoli announced as a season-long loan, there’s still a chance the 28-year-old could return to Swansea City. But with an option to buy in the partenopei’s hangs, Swans no longer control whether their former focal point has played his last match for the club. After completing his physical Thursday in Naples, Michu is now Rafa Benítez’s charge.

We discussed the fit when rumors began circulating last month, but particularly after Swansea’s acquisition of Bafetimbi Gomis, a move seemed inevitable. With Napoli at times relying Goran Pandev as Gonzalo Higuaín’s understudy, the team had a need for depth at striker. That Michu can also fill in underneath Higuaín in Benítez’s set up makes him an ideal acquisition.

For Swans, a summer of rumors that Wilfried Bony may move has almost been weathered. Now, with the acquisition of Gomis to serve as a more traditional target, the team’s attack has come into focus. After seeing Michu’s injuries limiting him to 17 appearances and two goals, Swansea could see a boost with Gomis’s arrival, even if he may not offer the same quality as the Spaniard.

Last season in Ligue 1, Gomis averaged 0.51 goals for 90 minutes (14 goals, overall), a rate that will likely decrease with Swansea. Given how the last six goalscorers to jump from France to England have performed, expecting somewhere in the nature of half as many goals seems reasonable:

Player Year Team G/90 mins Year Team G/90 mins
Sagbo, Yannick 2012-13 Evian 0.23 2013-14 Hull City 0.12
Giroud, Olivier 2011-12 Montpellier 0.59 2012-13 Arsenal 0.43
Hazard, Eden 2011-12 Lille 0.56 2012-13 Chelsea 0.31
Maiga, Modibo 2011-12 Sochaux 0.5 2012-13 West Ham 0.44
Gervinho 2010-11 Lille 0.47 2011-12 Arsenal 0.21
Park, Chu Young 2010-11 Monaco 0.38 2011-12 Arsenal 0.00

Don’t draw anything scientific from that. Instead, just take that under consideration when evaluating the tradeoff. Whereas Swansea is losing a player who scored .14 goals per 90 minutes last year, the club’s bringing in somebody who could double that production. If Gomis stays healthy, that may mean six to eight more goals for Swans.

That does not sound like much, but it would take the team’s goal difference from even to something closer to Tottenham’s (+4) or Southampton’s (+8). Depending on luck and how those goals are distributed, it could also mean the difference between battling relegation and competing for a spot in the league’s top half.