Yesterday Swansea wrapped up the signing of goalscoring midfielder Michu from Rayo Vallecano for a fee of around £2million.
Michu becomes new manager Michael Laudrup’s third signing following the arrivals of Chico and Jonathan de Guzman, after agreeing a three-year deak at the Liberty Stadium.
For many people, these three players are fairly unheard of. So for all you Premier League fans, here’s a brief summary of the Welsh sides new signings.
Jose Manuel Flores – Defence (Centre Back)
Swansea completed their first signing just under two weeks ago. Jose Manuel Flores, also known as Chico, arrived from Genoa for £2 million.
The centre back signed a three year contract with the Swans after a deal had been agreed between the two sides.
Chico started playing professionally with hometown club Cádiz CF, first with the reserves. In 2006–07, with the Andalusians in the second division, he appeared in three games for the main squad.
In 2007–08, Chico served two loans, first at Racing Club Portuense then with FC Barcelona B, helping the Catalans promote to level three. At the season’s end he signed with Cádiz neighbours Unión Deportiva Almería, in La Liga.
In the 2009–10 season, Chico appeared 27 times as the club again maintained its top flight status, after finishing in 13th position.
In late July 2010, after extensive negotiations, Chico signed with Genoa C.F.C. in Italy, for five seasons and €4 million. He appeared in less than half of the Serie A games in his first season.
On 22 July 2011, RCD Mallorca reached an agreement with Genoa to take Chico on a season-long loan, with the Balearic Islands side having an option to buy the player at the end of the campaign. He played in 33 matches in his only season as either a right or centre-back, starting in all for an eventual 8th-place finish.
Now he finds himself playing at the highest level of English football following a permanent move to Swansea.
“I’m very happy to be here,” the Spaniard said. “I know I am joining a club that has been growing over the last few years and is still ambitious to go even higher.
“Having played in La Liga and Serie A, two great leagues, it’s a dream come true to play in the Premier League, one of the best – if not the best – in the world.”
Chico, who spent last season on loan at Mallorca, also spoke of his admiration for new Swans boss Michael Laudrup, adding: “He was one of the main reasons I signed. He knows me as a person and a player, so I was honoured when the call came.
“I believe the manager will be good for Swansea and they have done extremely well to get him. Swansea’s way of playing is the same style as he wants to play the game. He is the right person to take this club forward.”
Chico has represented his country at Under 21 level on 3 occasions.
Jonathan de Guzman – Midfield (Attacking Midfielder)
Villarreal’s Jonathan de Guzman became Michael Laudrup’s second signing of the new campaign when he completed a one-year loan deal on July 10, 2012.
The club also has an option to make the attacking midfielder, 24, a permanent signing.
Born in Ontario, Canada, he moved to the Netherlands to join Feyenoord’s youth academy and played over 100 games for the Rotterdam club.
He opted to represent the Netherlands after he gained Dutch citizenship, winning four Under-21 caps along with six appearances at the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008.
De Guzman joined up with Laudrup at Mallorca on a free transfer in 2010 before being sold on transfer deadline day to Villarreal for around £7m in August 2011 after 38 appearances.
After making an encouraging start at El Madrigal, de Guzman found game time at a premium after the club appointed a new manager, hence the need for a loan move to Swansea.
“Once the opportunity came along to join Swansea and Michael Laudrup it was a done deal,” de Guzman told the club’s website.”I didn’t have to think twice about it.
“I watched Premier League football every week on the TV last season. I was aware that Swansea are a good footballing side, but they really caught my eye when they beat Manchester City.
“They had a great season and I’m really looking forward to the challenge of playing on a new podium in the Premier League. I’m grateful for the opportunity and grateful that the manager has acknowledged me as a player.”
“I just want to play football on a regular basis again. I’m fortunate that I will be working under a good coach (Laudrup) at Swansea who lets you be free and allows you to do what you do best. I like to attack as a midfielder, box to box, and hopefully I can add my share of goals along the way.”
Miguel Perez Cuesta – Midfield (Central Midfielder)
Otherwise known as Michu, Miguel Perez Cuesta, 26, arrives at the Liberty Stadium for a cost of just £2 million.
The Spaniard spent one season at Vallecano after joining from Celta Vigo in 2011, impressing as he scored 15 goals in 37 league starts. Michu finished the league campaign as the highest scoring midfielder in the division, as well as the 9th highest scorer overall.
After beginning with local Real Oviedo in the lower leagues, in 2007 Michu moved to Celta de Vigo B in Segunda División B. Midway through 2007–08, he received his maiden first-team call-up, finishing the season in the starting XI of the Segunda División outfit.
In mid-January 2010, a transfer to La Liga with Sporting de Gijón, in order to replace Birmingham City-bound Míchel, was almost arranged, but it eventually fell through and Michu stayed at Celta.
In his last two second level seasons combined, Michu scored 12 goals for the Galicians. On 8 June 2011, after helping the club to the sixth position in the regular season, he scored the game’s only goal in the first leg of the promotion playoffs against Granada CF, at home; in the second leg, however, he missed his penalty shootout attempt and Celta were eliminated.
On 27 July 2011, after his contract with Celta expired, Michu signed a two-year deal with Rayo Vallecano who had recently been promoted to the top division. He made his debut in the competition on 28 August in a 1–1 away draw against Athletic Bilbao.
In his first season, Michu was one of the best national scorers, notably netting braces against Real Sociedad (4–0 home win), Racing de Santander (4–2, home)and CA Osasuna (6–0, home.)
Following the 26 year olds arrival, Laudrup said: “It’s a fantastic signing. We are talking about a player who scored 15 goals in the Spanish league last year for a small club, who were saved by the bell in the last minute of the last game to avoid relegation. He was a big difference for them with his goals.
Swansea will hope Michu’s knack of scoring goals from midfield will help fill the space vacated by Sigurdsson’s decision to join Tottenham rather than complete a permanent switch to the Liberty Stadium.
With the Spaniard being linked with a host of big name clubs, both in Britain and on the continent, the Swans moved quickly to get their man for a fee that comes in a long way below the reported release clause of around £3.1million in Michu’s contract.
I wish all three players the best of luck in the Premier League. Hopefully the Swans can emulate the success they achieved last season.