21st March – Michu

Michu made such an impact in the Premier League that it is surprising that he is not still in England and it is unbelievable that Swansea City would loan him out.

He is now 29 and can do a number of jobs in the attacking areas of the pitch but for whatever reason it didn’t seem to click between him and Wilfried Bony whenever they did play together. His form during his first season at Swansea was exceptional and it earned him a call up to the Spanish team which at the time were the most dominant in international football.

The forward started his career at Oviedo and made his debut in the Tercera Division during the 2003-04 season and would go on to play 100 league games for the club, scoring 13 times and his form convinced Segunda Division side Celta Vigo to take a chance on him in 2007. He started out in the B team but after 10 goals in 28 games he was promoted to the first team. He would go on to spend four seasons at the club, once again not being a prolific scorer but putting in some good performances, as he ended his time there with 112 appearances.

Michu Oviedo

On the 27th July 2011 he signed for newly promoted La Liga side Rayo Vallecano and made his debut in a 1-1 draw against Athletic Bilbao. This would be a brilliant season for the player as he finished with 17 goals in all competitions, which was the same amount he scored in four seasons in Celta’s first team. He scored some notable braces against Real Sociedad, Racing Santander and Real Madrid. This meant that he was being linked with moves away from the club as he only had a year left on his contract.

Michu CV

For just £2 million Michu signed for Swansea City on the 20th July 2012 and on his debut he scored yet another brace in a 5-0 win over QPR and then continued his fantastic goalscoring form by finding the back of the net against West Ham and Sunderland. He would go on to be one of the best signings of the season and would score 22 goals in all competitions as he helped Swansea win the League Cup. At the end of the campaign he was named the team’s Player of the Year and the Supporters Player of the Year.

It looked as though the following season was going to follow a similar pattern as he scored the club’s first goal of the season in a Europa League game against Malmo but injuries restricted him to just 24 games over the course of the season, however he did still manage to score six goals, but only two of these were in the league.

Michu SC

It was still surprising though when he made the move to Napoli on a season long loan at the start of this season but it hasn’t been the greatest time for him as he has suffered with injuries and has barely been able to make an impact.

The final word can go to Rafael Benitez. “Michu is a player that can play in two positions. He is able to penetrate and score but also knows how to play with other strikers. I have told Michu that I expect a certain number of goals from him to just to motivate him.”

11th September – Andrea Dossena

Not many players have as good a week as Andrea Dossena did in March 2009 as he scored against both Real Madrid and Manchester United for Liverpool.

Unfortunately he did not live up to his potential in the Premier League and despite this fantastic week for both him and the club he will largely be forgotten by a lot of fans. The left back struggled to adapt to the pace of the English game but he has had some success throughout his career. Now at the age of 33 he is a free agent and he can be signed outside of the transfer window so he could be playing for a new club soon.

Dossena began his career at Italian side Verona and after impressing as a youth player, he was promoted to the first team squad and made his debut on the 18th November 2001 in the derby against Chievo. He spent four seasons at the club, playing 99 Serie A games and scoring three goals before signing for Treviso in 2005.
Dossena Verona
His stay at Treviso was only for one season but he performed well in his 21 games to convince Udinese to sign him in 2006. Over the next two seasons he was a consistent left back and played in 63 league games and was awarded an improved contract in October 2007. However, by the end of the season he was being linked with moves away and on the 4th July 2008, he signed for Liverpool for an undisclosed fee.
Dossena Udinese
He was seen as the direct replacement for John Arne Riise and made his debut on the 16th August in a 1-0 win over Sunderland. Although he played well in this game, his form was poor for the large majority of his time at the club and didn’t get back into the side until an injury to first choice left back Fabio Aurelio. He once again did not convince the fans and manager that he was the right man for the job and was replaced by Emiliano Insua.

Now when he did get the chance he was played on the left wing and he was quite successful in this position, scoring his first goal for the club on the 10th March 2009 after coming on as a substitute against Real Madrid in the Champions League and then four days later repeating this by scoring against Manchester United in a 4-1 win at Old Trafford.

He only played 18 league games for Liverpool and signed for Napoli on the 8th January 2010, making his debut in the Coppa Italia against Juventus. He rediscovered his early career form at Napoli and played a lot of games at the club but it was not until the final game of the 2011-12 season that he became a fan favourite as he scored twice against Siena to guarantee the club Europa League football for the next season.
Dossena Napolu
After falling out of favour he joined Palermo on loan in January 2013 and played 11 times for the club before joining Sunderland on a free transfer on the 2nd September 2013. He made his debut in a 2-1 win over Newcastle United, however he was sent off in his next game against Hull City for a ridiculous challenge on David Meyler. At the end of the season after making just seven league appearances he was released.

The final word can go to Rafael Benitez. “We are happy with him because we know that he is a good player and he is working hard but we also know he can get better. Dossena is keen to learn and he will get better with more games and more time.”

31st August – Pepe Reina

Pepe Reina is now without doubt the best second choice keeper in world football both at club level and international level and he should be at a top club playing every single game.

Now at Bayern Munich, the goalkeeper is behind Manuel Neuer in the pecking order but at least he has experience of sitting on the bench as he has done it for Spain for a number of years as he has watched Iker Casillas. Some would argue that he should still be Liverpool’s first choice but Brendan Rodgers went with Simon Mignolet even though Reina fits his style of football.

Reina started his career at Barcelona and from 1997 he was the first choice goalkeeper for the reserve side before being called up to the first team in 2000 after injuries. He made his debut in a 3-3 draw with Celta Vigo on the 2nd of December. In total he made 33 appearances for the club that season and helped them reach the semi finals of the UEFA Cup.
Jose Reina
In the following season he had to settle for a place on the bench for most of the campaign but did still play in 16 games. In July 2002 he joined Villarreal and was their undisputed number one barely missing a game in his three seasons at the club and became one of the most consistent goalkeepers in Europe. He played 136 times in all competitions before joining Liverpool in July 2005.
Reina Villarreal
He made his Liverpool debut in the Champions League qualifier against Welsh side TNS. His first season at the club was very successful as he helped them win the FA Cup and also a huge success personally. On the 3rd December against Wigan Athletic he kept his sixth consecutive clean sheet in the Premier League, and then went on to break the clean sheet record in all competitions after not conceding for 11 games.

In his first season he played 53 games and he holds a Liverpool record of conceding the fewest amount of goals in 50 games, conceding just 29. And at the end of the season he was awarded the Golden Glove for keeping 20 clean sheets and in the FA Cup final he saved three of West Ham’s four penalties to lift the trophy.

The 2006-07 season was just as impressive for the keeper as he once again won the Golden Glove after keeping 19 clean sheets and was also a hero in another penalty shootout against Chelsea in the Champions League semi final. Once again in the 2007-08 season he won the Golden Glove for the third consecutive season with 18 clean sheets and on the 2nd February 2008 he became the quickest goalkeeper in Liverpool history to reach 50 clean sheets.
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Reina continued to be Liverpool’s number one for the next few seasons and in 2011 he broke the club record for clean sheets in a 2-0 win over Chelsea. But after a red card in a 2-0 defeat to Newcastle United it meant that his streak of 183 consecutive Premier League appearances came to an end.

On the 19th July 2013 he signed for Napoli on a season long loan and helped them win the Coppa Italia but after 41 appearances his loan was not made permanent and he returned to Liverpool. On the 8th August 2014 Reina left Liverpool after 394 games and joined Bayern Munich.

The final word can go to Rafael Benitez. “Pepe’s record at Liverpool is very good. He is one of the best goalkeepers in the world. He’s had a lot of clean sheets and you can see the confidence the defenders have in him. When he plays, the defenders look very comfortable and that is so important.”