Swansea Will Do Well To Keep Michu

Michu looked like a bargain at the start of the season, but WhoScored.com's Martin Laurence reckons his improvement could see another move ahead...

Last Updated: 04/12/12 at 15:32 Post Comment

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In the first few months of the season, the majority were touting Santi Cazorla as the signing of the summer in the Premier League. However, Arsenal's display against Swansea on Saturday perhaps saw the balance swing toward a certain compatriot on the opposing side.

Laudrup's men secured a late win at the Emirates thanks to their star man this season, as it was Michu at the double to earn the Welsh outfit all three points once again.

A £2million move from Rayo Vallecano was tipped at the time to be a great piece of business from the Swans' new Danish boss but few - in England at least - would have predicted the impact that he has had.

The 26-year old was the highest scoring midfielder in La Liga last season with 15 goals, so it's fair to say his threat was well known in Spain after just one season with a newly promoted, open and expansive Vallecano side. Michu had signed for the Madrid club on a free transfer from Celta Vigo in July 2011.

Nevertheless, his transition into the Premier League and the ease with which he has adjusted to the pace of English football has been remarkable.

The brace against Arsenal not only took Michu to double figures for the season after just 15 games, but also saw him jump to the head of the top scorer charts alongside Luis Suarez, Robin van Persie and Demba Ba.

With finishing such a huge part of the Spaniard's game, it is perhaps no surprise to see that a conversion rate of 25% (or one goal from four shots) is the best of all players to have scored more than five goals in the Premier League this season.

In fact, only three of the other 10 players to have done so come close to Michu (van Persie - 20%, Edin Dzeko - 21.4% and Steven Fletcher - 22.2%).

One of four players to reach ten goals at this early stage in the season, only Suarez joins the Swansea man in having netted none of his tally from the penalty spot, while Michu's four headed goals this season is a league high - with all of the remaining six coming via his favoured left foot.

The former Vallecano player's goals last season came at a significantly inferior rate (16.9%), though the improvements in his statistics don't end there.

One of few attacking midfielders that you could rule out as a playmaker, Michu picked up just three assists in his time at Rayo, having averaged just 1.1 key passes per game. His output in this sense has improved marginally in Swansea's free-flowing system, though an average of 1.3 key passes per game have brought about just one assists thus far.

However, perhaps the most marked improvement in Michu's figures concern his general passing game. The one statistic that did not add up for a Swansea signing saw the Spaniard average a pretty pitiful 68.5% pass accuracy last season. Despite being the real exception to the cause in Swansea's passing approach, with the second lowest accuracy of outfielders in the squad, his figure of 79.5% in the Premier League represents a real leap forward.

With an average of just 0.2 successful dribbles per game again indicating that he is not your traditional puppet master in an advanced midfield position, Michu shows more than his share of graft. A tackles-per-game average of 1.9 is the fourth best of regular starters in the Swansea squad and his efforts will not have gone unnoticed.

The likes of Manchester United were believed to be showing an interest after a similarly emphatic first half of the season in La Liga, before a drop in form in the latter stages saw Swansea swoop first in the summer. While Sir Alex Ferguson eventually plumped for Shinji Kagawa, the ease with which Michu has reached double figures may have alerted a familiar face to the Welsh side's fans.

With Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool having missed out on Clint Dempsey in the transfer window, goals are in short supply outside of talisman Luis Suarez at Anfield. Could Rodgers see the development of Michu's passing game at his old stomping ground as the ideal platform for a move to Merseyside?

One thing's for sure - Laudrup will do well to convince his star man that his stay in Swansea needn't be as short as it was with Rayo.

All stats courtesy of WhoScored.com. Follow Martin Laurence on Twitter at @martinlaurence7.

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S I've always envisioned him as a Pirlo or a Scholes, though he needs some of Andy Murray's conditioning and shiny, ankle supports to keep his own from buckling under the tackles that will (inevitably) come his way. He's got the physique and low centre of gravity to flourish, but needs to make himself more resilient.

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