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Michu to Napoli: Considering Swansea’s fortunes after the Spaniard’s departure

Jul 18, 2014, 9:33 PM EST

Michu AP

Spanish attacker Michu’s two-year stay in Wales appears to be over, though with yesterday’s move to Napoli announced as a season-long loan, there’s still a chance the 28-year-old could return to Swansea City. But with an option to buy in the partenopei’s hangs, Swans no longer control whether their former focal point has played his last match for the club. After completing his physical Thursday in Naples, Michu is now Rafa Benítez’s charge.

We discussed the fit when rumors began circulating last month, but particularly after Swansea’s acquisition of Bafetimbi Gomis, a move seemed inevitable. With Napoli at times relying Goran Pandev as Gonzalo Higuaín’s understudy, the team had a need for depth at striker. That Michu can also fill in underneath Higuaín in Benítez’s set up makes him an ideal acquisition.

For Swans, a summer of rumors that Wilfried Bony may move has almost been weathered. Now, with the acquisition of Gomis to serve as a more traditional target, the team’s attack has come into focus. After seeing Michu’s injuries limiting him to 17 appearances and two goals, Swansea could see a boost with Gomis’s arrival, even if he may not offer the same quality as the Spaniard.

Last season in Ligue 1, Gomis averaged 0.51 goals for 90 minutes (14 goals, overall), a rate that will likely decrease with Swansea. Given how the last six goalscorers to jump from France to England have performed, expecting somewhere in the nature of half as many goals seems reasonable:

Player Year Team G/90 mins Year Team G/90 mins
Sagbo, Yannick 2012-13 Evian 0.23 2013-14 Hull City 0.12
Giroud, Olivier 2011-12 Montpellier 0.59 2012-13 Arsenal 0.43
Hazard, Eden 2011-12 Lille 0.56 2012-13 Chelsea 0.31
Maiga, Modibo 2011-12 Sochaux 0.5 2012-13 West Ham 0.44
Gervinho 2010-11 Lille 0.47 2011-12 Arsenal 0.21
Park, Chu Young 2010-11 Monaco 0.38 2011-12 Arsenal 0.00

Don’t draw anything scientific from that. Instead, just take that under consideration when evaluating the tradeoff. Whereas Swansea is losing a player who scored .14 goals per 90 minutes last year, the club’s bringing in somebody who could double that production. If Gomis stays healthy, that may mean six to eight more goals for Swans.

That does not sound like much, but it would take the team’s goal difference from even to something closer to Tottenham’s (+4) or Southampton’s (+8). Depending on luck and how those goals are distributed, it could also mean the difference between battling relegation and competing for a spot in the league’s top half.

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