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.”

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28th October – Obafemi Martins

Obafemi Martins is a player with a fantastic history, having been the number nine at Newcastle United and also scoring the winning goal for Birmingham City in the League Cup final.

The striker had electric pace and a brilliant shot on him that a lot of goalkeepers struggled to keep a hold of. He has had a lot of ups and downs in his career but has largely been a fan favourite at every club and is now currently scoring regularly for Seattle Sounders in the MLS and his goals have helped his side to the top of the table.

The 30 year old started his career in Nigeria before getting a trial at Serie C side Reggiana in Italy and signed a youth contract with the club in 2000. After just two appearanceshe joined Inter Milan and would go on to make his debut against Parma in December 2002. Martins began to make an impact during the 2002-03 season where he showed his quality in the Champions League, scoring against Bayer Leverkusen and AC Milan. His best season for the club was in the 2004-05 season, where he scored 22 goals in 45 games, unfortunately for him, Inter decided to sign other strikers soon after.
Martins IM
In total he scored 49 goals for the Italian side before signing for Newcastle United on the 24th August 2006 and was handed the number nine shirt, taking over from Alan Shearer. After a difficult start, in which he suffered a few injuries, he would go on to score his first goal for the club on the 17th September against West Ham in a 2-0 win and he became a regular scorer hitting one of the goals of the season when he scored from 20 yards against Tottenham Hotspur at a speed of 84mph. Martins ended his first season with 17 goals in all competitions. His second season at the club was mixed as he had to settle for a place on the bench under Sam Allardyce, as he preferred Michael Owen and Mark Viduka upfront. But after Kevin Keegan became manager he found a system that allowed all three players to be on the field and combine well. He finished the season with 10 goals in 33 games.
Soccer - FA Barclays Premiership - Aston Villa v Newcastle United - Villa Park
Martins then started the 2008-09 season in fantastic form, scoring six goals in 12 games before tearing his hamstring and later in the season needing an operation on a hernia, meaning he could not continue this form. After being out since January he returned to the side in a relegation six pointer against Middlesbrough and scored twice. However, this would not be good enough to keep them in the Premier League.

On the 31st July 2009 Martins joined Wolfsburg for £9 million and went on to score on his debut against FC Koln. He only stayed at the club for one season but scored six times in 16 Bundesliga games. He then moved on to Russian side Rubin Kazan and helped them win the Russian Cup but it was not the greatest time for the striker and on the 31st January 2011 he joined Birmingham City on loan. Although his time at the club was ruined by injuries, he still managed to write himself into their history books as he scored the winning goal in the League Cup final against Arsenal.

With the club getting relegated from the Premier League a permanent move was no longer on the cards and Martins joined Levante. On his league debut he scored twice in a 2-1 win over Real Sociedad and was a decent goalscorer, hitting the back of the net in a third of his league games. But on the 15th March 2013 he joined MLS side Seattle Sounders and last season finished with 17 goals, as well as 13 assists for the club, a joint club record with Mauro Rosales.
Martins SS
The final word can go to Kevin Keegan. “He excites me very much as a player. He is very, very different to not only anything we have got at this football club, but probably in the Premier League. It sends up all sorts of ideas in your mind what this player can bring to the football club.”

1st September – Jose Antonio Reyes

With Arsenal fans desperate for their club to sign a striker on transfer deadline day, it is the birthday of one of their former forwards Jose Antonio Reyes.

Now at the age of 31 he may not have been prolific but was he a better option than their current crop of strikers? With Olivier Giroud out injured, they only have Yaya Sanogo as a recognised a striker and then others in Lukas Podolski, Theo Walcott, Joel Campbell and Alexis Sanchez that can play upfront. Reyes may not have quite worked out as well for Arsenal as they hoped and maybe that is a warning to Arsenal fans who are begging for a signing.

The forward started his career at Sevilla and signed his first full contract in 1999, making his debut as a 16 year old against Real Zaragoza. Over the next four seasons he became well known around Europe as someone that can play in any of the forward positions and score from any angle. In his 86 league appearances for the club he scored 21 times.

Arsenal signed Reyes in the January transfer window of the 2003-04 season and made his debut in a 2-1 win against Manchester City. In his first half a season he scored five times in 21 games, helping Arsenal go unbeaten in the Premier League. In his first full season he started off brilliantly and many people thought that he was going to lead Arsenal to the title but midway through the season he began to struggle and remained inconsistent.
Reyes Arsenal
In early 2005 there were claims that Reyes was homesick and wanted to return to Spain and despite and helping Arsenal win the FA Cup in 2005 and then reach the final of the Champions League in 2006, he was very inconsistent and could not reproduce his best form. After 69 Premier League appearances and 16 goals he was included in a swap deal with Real Madrid.

Reyes was a regular for Madrid and scored some important goals, including his first on the 17th September 2006 with a free kick against Real Sociedad. More importantly he scored twice on the final day against Mallorca to help Madrid come from behind and not only win the game but also the league.

Despite this success he did not sign permanently and instead joined city rivals Atletico Madrid. He got off to a very poor start as he could not force his way into the side and failed to score in his 26 league appearances. After just one season it seemed like his time at the club was over as he left for Benfica on loan and had a better time scoring four goals in 26 games and producing better performances.
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After returning to Atletico, he was reunited with his manager from Benfica Quique Flores and became one of the most important members of the team. Over the next two seasons he played 90 games but after the manager left he lost his consistency and had a falling out with new manager Gregorio Manzano which led to him leaving the club and on the 5th January 2012 he rejoined Sevilla.
Reyes Sevilla
Although he is not as much a goalscoring threat for Sevilla, he does still play an important role and helped them win last season’s Europa League by scoring twice in nine games.

The final word can go to Arsene Wenger. “Jose Reyes is a fantastic signing. He can play in midfield or as a supporting striker. He can play on the left or on the right, in fact, anywhere as an offensive player. Jose will be a great asset to our squad.”