Michu’s redemption and the search for glory at Napoli

After an injury plagued campaign that cost him a potential place at the World Cup in Brazil, Michu starts a new chapter in his career in 2014-15.

The mercurial Spanish attacker has joined compatriot Rafa Benítez at Napoli on loan from Swansea for the season, which will open up opportunities for the forward that he was unable to get in Wales.

Michu is something of a forgotten man given that he only managed 15 starts for the Liberty Stadium outfit last term; a disappointment given his superlative debut campaign in the Premier League the season prior.

Things were looking great for the former Rayo Vallecano attacker after making his debut for Spain in October 2013 against Belarus, with many, including myself, feeling he could be a wildcard for Vicente del Bosque’s men at the World Cup.

However, injury struck in 2013-14, meaning that Michu’s dream of making the competition in Brazil was dashed.

In the meantime, Swansea’s style of attacking play changed somewhat with the departure of manager Michael Laudrup and the rise to prominence of powerhouse forward Wilfried Bony.

MichuThe Ivorian proved a handful for opposition defences last term, netting an admirable 17 goals in his first campaign in the Premier League and proving himself as more than capable of leading the line for a dangerous Swans outfit.

With the summer additions of Bafetimbi Gomis and Jefferson Montero, Swansea seemingly felt that they had enough attacking options in their squad to allow Michu a chance at a fresh start in Italy.

Whether this backfires on the Welsh club remains to be seen, as they have lost the guile, creativity and individualism of the Spaniard for the campaign ahead. That said, they coped without Michu for the bulk of last term while he was on the treatment table.

For Napoli, Michu’s signing is a shrewd one.

The San Paolo outfit are not short of attacking options with the likes of Gonzalo Higuaín, José Callejón, Lorenzo Insigne and the tremendously gifted Marik Hamšík at Benítez’s disposal – but Michu will add versatility and inspiration in Napoli’s forward line.

With the ability to deputise for Higuaín in the number nine role if needed but also more than comfortable in the hole behind the Argentine hitman, if he stays fit the loan star could be a valuable addition for a club chasing the Scudetto.

For Michu himself, an injury free campaign will be on his wishlist after the frustration of spending most of last year on the sidelines.

If he gets this bit of luck, the chance to play for a club chasing silverware for the first time in his career is on offer.

The added appeal of playing in the Champions League for a team that has the potential to reach the knockout rounds at the very least is just rewards for a player who is arguably yet to reach his full potential.

From an international perspective, after La Roja’s debacle in Brazil this summer widespread changes in personnel are expected ahead of Euro 2016.

With seasoned campaigners such as Fernando Torres expected to start to bow out for the national team and a host of new players to be given their chance, good form for Napoli should see Michu given a second chance for his nation.

At 28 the best may yet be to come from a player that has finally been given a chance to show just how good he is on the biggest stage.

I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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