When Swansea announced the signing of Miguel Perez Cuesta from Spanish struggler Rayo Vallecano in July last year, it barely caused a ripple in English soccer.
At 2 million pounds ($3.2 million ), many will have presumed that Michu - as he is better known - was simply another journeyman foreigner soon to be swallowed up in the world's richest league.
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson had never heard of him. He wasn't on the radar of Arsenal's scouting network either. Other clubs deliberated about signing him but eventually declined.
What an oversight.
The lanky forward is now established as one of the Premier League's most lethal finishers, scoring 16 goals in all competitions this season, and is in line for a call-up by world and European Spain for the February 6 friendly against Uruguay.
Michu is being spoken of in the same breath as Robin van Persie, Luis Suarez and Sergio Aguero and, unsurprisingly, is being linked to a move to one of Europe's top teams in the offseason. He won't be easy to get, though.
"We all know the situation, the economic situation in the world, so there really aren't that many clubs who can buy him," Swansea manager Michael Laudrup said. "There are some here [in England]; in Spain, there are only two [Barcelona and Real Madrid]. Italy? I don't think so. They're trying to sell. Bayern Munich in Germany ... so only a few, few clubs."
Considering Michu was a sensation in Spanish soccer last season, scoring 15 goals to help Rayo avoid relegation on the last day of the season, the continent's powers missed an absolute bargain to highlight glaring blind spots within their scouting departments.
"It hurts me to hear Arsene Wenger say that nobody here had heard of Michu," Guillem Balague, a Spanish soccer expert with Sky Sports, told The Associated Press. "It is a failure in the scouting system in England that nobody could see his potential.
"It's something for these clubs to analyze, that somebody who cost 2.5 million [euros] cannot be worth it for their team. There are players like that in Spain now. ... They should sharpen their views."
Goal-scoring midfielders are always godsends, and Michu is proving he is up there with the best. He has the cool finishing ability of a striker despite never having played in the position on a regular basis.
Laudrup, though, has pushed him further upfield and Michu is now Swansea's main forward as the unheralded Welsh team continues to impress in the Premier League while closing in on a place in the League Cup final. On Wednesday, the Swans won 2-0 at Chelsea in the first leg of the semifinals - and yes, Michu scored.
"He is a coach that has given me a lot of freedom and that is important," Michu recently said of Laudrup, arguably Denmark's greatest ever player. "Sometimes he plays during practice and you are amazed; he still sees passes where no one else does.
"I am still learning."
Michu started out playing for hometown club Real Oviedo in 2006-07 and then spent four years in Spain's second division with Celta Vigo. Rayo had him for just one season, before the economic problems engulfing Spanish soccer forced the club to sell its most precious asset at a knockdown fee.
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