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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14th September – Steven Naismith

Steven Naismith has been one of the surprising stars of the Premier League so far and now at the age of 27 he is getting towards the best years of his career.

Everton have had an indifferent start to the season but with their 2-0 victory over West Brom they will be hoping this is where things will get more consistent for them and they will battle for a place in the top four. Despite this being their only league win so far, they have also only lost one game and Naismith has been in excellent form, scoring in the first three games of the season against Leicester City, Chelsea and Arsenal.

The striker started his career at Kilmarnock and signed professionally in August 2002, then making his debut as a substitute against Hibernian on the 24th April 2004. He had to wait until February 2005 to score his first senior goal against Hearts in a 2-2 draw. It was in the 2005-06 season that he really began to make a name for himself as he won the SPL Young Player of the Month in August and January and then the SPL Player of the Month award in March.
Naismith Everton
He continued to be one of the best strikers in Scotland and was therefore linked with moves away from the club and after 115 games and 35 goals for Kilmarnock he moved onto Rangers on the 31st August 2007. His first season at the club started off well but a knee injury in April 2008 kept him out of action for eight months. After missing the majority of the following campaign he returned to help Rangers lift the Scottish Cup.

In the 2009-10 season he received his first SPL winners medal after the club won back to back titles but this time Naismith had played enough games to get one. He played 28 times in the league, scoring three times. While at Rangers he was used a lot as a wide player and this was part of the reason he did not score a lot of goals but the 2010-11 season he had his best goal return at the club, hitting the back of the net 15 times and winning the Players’ Player of the Year and Supporters Player of the Year.
Naismith Rangers
The 2011-12 season could have been so much better for Naismith if it wasn’t cut short by injury. He started the season by scoring on the opening day against Hearts, and followed this up by scoring eight times in the first eight league games, including two against Celtic in a 4-2 win. After nine goals in 11 games he suffered a cruciate ligament injury and did not play for the club again.

Naismith joined Everton on the 4th July 2012 after Rangers had been liquidated. He made his debut as a substitute in a 1-0 win over Manchester United. He did not have the best first season as he was largely used as a substitute but he has the record of scoring the final goal of David Moyes’ reign at the club in a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea.
Naismith Killie
Under new manager Roberto Martinez he made a rare start against Chelsea in September 2013 and scored the game’s only goal. As the season progressed he became a more important member of the team and his good run of form coincided with Everton winning seven games on the bounce and also helping them to fifth place and also their highest point tally ever in the Premier League.

The final word can go to David Moyes. “He is an established international who can play in a number of positions. He will be an excellent addition to the players we already have and will hopefully prove to be very useful for us.”

28th May – Charles N’Zogbia

Charles N’Zogbia spent all of last season injured and will be hoping to hit the ground next season and with him turning 28 today he will be one of the more experienced players in the Aston Villa squad next year.

Paul Lambert will be hoping the winger can return to form that saw him called up to the French squad in 2010 by Laurent Blanc and transform his team into one that battles relegation to one that can challenge for the top half.

N’Zogbia has spent his whole professional career in England and it began at Newcastle United in 2004 and is the last player that Sir Bobby Robson signed as a manager and he labelled him ‘one of the most naturally gifted players of that age he’d ever seen.’ He made his debut soon after on the 11th September in a 3-0 win over Blackburn Rovers and went on to play another 21 games in his first season at the club. In the 2005-06 season he became a first team regular and played 41 times and scored Newcastle’ first goal of the season with a brilliant free kick against Fulham. Throughout the season he was very impressive and added another five goals, including a solo effort against Sunderland in a memorable 4-1 victory. He was linked with moves away from the club but signed a new three year contract.
N'Zog Newcastle
Under new manager Glenn Roeder he fell out of favour and started appearing less regularly and injuries meant he missed a lot of games in the middle part of the season. But when Sam Allardyce was appointed as manager he got a new lease of life and scored the opening goal of his reign in a 3-1 win over Bolton Wanderers and on the 4th September he signed a new five year contract. However, this turned out to be his last full season at the club as he had a run in with Joe Kinnear who called him ‘Charles Insomnia’. The player issued a statement apologising to the fans but saying he will not be playing for the club under Kinnear and left for Wigan Athletic on the 30th January 2009 with Ryan Taylor going in the other direction.
Nzog Wigan
His first goal for Wigan was another impressive solo goal against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light and in the following season he was vital in keeping the team in the Premier League. His best moment of the season was scoring the winning goal to complete a late comeback against Arsenal to win the match 3-2. He ended the season as Wigan’s Players’ Player of the Year and the Supporters’ Player of the Year. After almost leaving the club in the summer he decided to stay and was even better by finishing the season as the club’s top scorer with 10 goals in all competitions, which included five goals in the last six games that once again kept them in the Premier League. Chairman Dave Whelan knew N’Zogbia was going to leave and said. “We can’t keep him if a big club comes in for him and he does deserve a big club because he’s that kind of quality player. He’s such a great player and we are such a small club, sometimes we don’t go together.”

On the 15th July he joined Aston Villa for £9.5 million but he hasn’t quite reached his potential yet for the club and has only scored six times in 58 games but will be hoping after missing all the 2013-14 season, he is hoping better things are on the horizon.
Nzog AV
The final word can go to his teammate at both Newcastle and Aston Villa Shay Given. “We saw at Wigan how good a player Charles is with his goals and the way he causes problems for defences. I know the Villa fans haven’t seen it yet but if they give him time I am sure they will soon see the best of N’Zogbia”.

10th April – Vincent Kompany

£6 million in the modern transfer market does not get you a lot in the Premier League but that is what Manchester City paid for arguably the best ever signing in the 2000s.

Vincent Kompany is 28 today and there are not many players that make such a difference when they are in the starting 11. When he is missing opposition teams immediately get a lift and think they have more of a chance of scoring and getting a result. Former manager Mark Hughes said: “He wants to improve, he is ambitious and he is desperate for success.” Now he is getting that success that his talents deserve and it is hard to argue against him winning trophies and personal awards as any team in the world would be improved with him in their side.
Kompany City
Hughes had an indifferent time at City but one thing he did right was sign the Belgian centre back and also make him captain. Since then he has improved further and it is down to his own hard work and determination. It did not take him long to settle in the Premier League and when Roberto Mancini took over from Hughes the club started competing for trophies and Kompany was a vital part of the team that won the FA Cup against Stoke City.

But it was the next season when nobody could argue against his talents as he won the Supporters Player of the Year, Manchester City’s Player of the Year and the Premier League Player of the Year. As the season was coming to a close it looked as though it would be a trophyless one for the club but Kompany scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Manchester United which put them top of the table with only two games to play and the rest is a well known story that ended with the centre back lifting the Premier League trophy.
Kompany captain
The next season was slightly tougher with him picking up niggling injuries and City failing to defend their title, manager Roberto Mancini knew that Kompany would keep improving. He said: “Vincent can become number one in the world. He has improved a lot and is now one of the top defenders in Europe.”

It has been a remarkable rise for the former Anderlecht and Hamburg man but it is one that has been enjoyed by many because he seems like one of the good guys in football and is someone that puts himself across very well in interviews and when doing media work.
Kompany Belgium
The last word can go to Manchester City legend Francis Lee who has seen a lot of players play for the club. “Kompany is sensational. He’s one of the best I’ve seen, he’s certainly the best Manchester City centre half I’ve seen.”