Although Michu has rightly claimed the title of the new Swansea City poster boy, he is not the only player who joined the club in the summer. As JULES PRICE explains, there are others worth celebrating.
To suggest Michu has been the signing of the season is an understatement. Not only is he one of the leading scorers in the Premier League, but he has demonstrated his versatility playing in different positions and, with the departure of Danny Graham, has taken on extra responsibility within the team.
However, he wasn’t the only signing that Swansea made before the 2012/13 season commenced.
New recruits Ki Sung-Yeung, Pablo Hernandez, Chico Flores, Jonathan De Guzman and Kyle Bartley have all enjoyed some success in South Wales. Let's take a look at three of these ‘other’ signings who sit in the shadow of Michu.
South Korean Ki Sung-Yueng had already enjoyed three successful seasons in British football with Scottish giants Celtic. Swansea signed the 24-year-old Korean international for a club record fee of around £6million. Little was known of the attacking midfielder, but it soon become apparent how useful this player is. He is a skillful player who has great vision to choose the right pass, many of which are forward moving and has the ability to use both feet.
For both Celtic and the South Korean national team, he has shown to be a valuable asset, scoring some spectacular goals from 25 yards plus. Although yet to score for the Swans, he has had the most shots blocked of any player in the Premier League this season. Ki’s willingness to help his team mates and his resourcefulness was typified by playing a full back role in the Capital One Cup Final game against Bradford at Wembley.
Pablo Hernandez is a 27-year-old player who was signed to compliment the wide players like Routledge and Dyer. Formerly a striker in his early days in Spain, Hernandez has been tipped to play for a big club with alleged interest coming from Manchester United and other top European sides. After some success at international level for Spain, making his debut against Austria in 2009, Hernandez’s career seemed to meander before Swansea signed him during the Summer of 2012.
He has the ability to round a player and has scored some memorable goals for the Swans. However, in more recent games against WBA and Arsenal, his pass completion has been poor, and he seems to try almost too hard to be precise with his pass. He played well against Bradford, showing some flashes of his true talent, whilst gaining an good understanding with Ben Davies.
Jonathan De Guzman has been signed on loan from the relegated Villarreal for a season, although both the player and Swansea are looking to make the deal a permanent one. This will depend on whether Villarreal are promoted back to La Liga. During the pre-season games at the Liberty Stadium, De Guzman could be seen marshaling his new team mates around the pitch, showing great zonal awareness, and demonstrating some true technical ability.
De Guzman has grown in statute, producing some wonderful free kicks, and is now the second leading goal scorer for the Swans with eight goals in total. Arguably his best game was in the Capital One Cup semi-final against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, where he proved to be the perfect foil for Michu helping to create the first goal.
Many media pundits will still argue that to be successful in the Premier League you have to spend serious money. I disagree! Yes, you need to sign new, better players to improve the squad, but more importantly a club needs to sign the RIGHT players and Swansea City have been justified in this approach.
Michu has been a revelation this season, and his recent League Managers Association Award has vindicated this, but the Swans are much more than that and, with two exciting players apparently lined up to join the squad this summer, may Swansea’s shrewd approach continue.
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