Throwback Thursday: Where in the world is Michu?

In the space of four years, Miguel Perez Cuesta has fallen off the face of the football earth and here I take a look at how that happened and where he is now.

Michu made a name for himself at Swansea City in the English Premier League after he signed from La Liga outfit Rayo Vallecano in 2012 for a mere two million pounds.

With the full backing of then manager Michael Laudrup, Michu excelled at the Liberty Stadium.

The tall, elegant and creative striker returned 18 goals for Swansea in the 2012/2013 Premier League season. He finished as the fifth top scorer in the competition that year, ahead of Wayne Rooney, Kun Agüero, Theo Walcott and Carlos Tévez to name a few and behind only Robin van Persie, Luis Suárez, Gareth Bale and Christian Benteke. Esteemed company to hold.

His pocket-sized transfer fee prompted football pundit Gary Lineker to describe the deal from Rayo Vallecano as ‘the bargain of the century’ and also led Sir Alex Ferguson to joke that he needed to ‘have a word’ with his scouting team for allowing Michu to slip under Manchester United’s radar.

Having guided the Swans to a ninth place finish in the English top flight and the English League Cup trophy, Michu was rewarded with his first international cap for Spain against Belarus in October of 2013.

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That day he started alongside David Silva, Cesc Fabregas, Xavi and Sergio Ramos and played in front of a jam-packed Santiago Bernabeu. Not bad for someone who was deemed surplus to requirements at a middle-of-the-road Spanish club barely 12 months earlier.

However, unfortunately, that was as good as it got for Michu.

A month later, he rolled his ankle during the South Wales derby against Cardiff and, though he returned briefly in December, required surgery which then kept him out until March of 2014.

He recovered, but without the presence of Laudrup, was not the same player under new Swansea boss, Gary Monk.

Keen on a fresh start, Michu opted to spend the 2014/2015 season on loan in the Serie A at Napoli. The injury problems continued and Michu was only able to make three appearances for Partenopei Gli Azzurri.

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“He tried to come back and could not get back to where he was,” Monk said of Michu ahead of the 2015/2016 Premier League season.

“This league changes so quickly and things come on.

“It was his decision last season to try something new. It has not worked out as he would like.

“We are a different animal and he does not fit in our plans.”

In a shocking sequence of events, Michu was unable to find a club willing to buy him before the 2015 transfer window closed and so Swansea terminated his contract.

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Lost and hopelessly low on confidence, Michu join Union Langreo, who play in Spain’s fourth tier and are run by his brother Hernan Perez.

He played 13 games for Langreo in the 2015/2016 season and scored 10 goals.

A move to La Liga 2 club, Real Oviedo, followed and that is where the once golden boy of Premier League football in South Wales is currently plying his trade as a bits-and-pieces weapon off the bench.

“I was really happy in Swansea, it was the best season of my life and my career,” Michu said recently.

“I miss the crowd, I miss the team-mates, I miss the city as well.

“If I can play again at the highest level again, I will play for Swansea for sure.

“I’m still having pain, but I want to play again for the Swans because they were outstanding, they were my life.

“When you love something so much, like I love football and I love Wales and I love Swansea, it’s difficult to play for the crowd without my best level so I need to get back to this level.”

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Michu has only played 90 minutes five times this season at Oviedo and has found the back of the net just once.

At 30-years-of-age and with a chronic ankle problem, this fairy tale is surely over.

However, like any good story, Michu’s has been written and will always be there for all to read.

His telepathic connection with the Swansea players, his fluid movement, his aerial presence, his stylish and clinical finishing, his ability to hold-up play and of course, his trademark celebration that saw him hold up one hand to his ear as if to signal that he cannot hear anything, will never be forgotten.

Michu, we heard you mate.

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