Finally, blissfully, the wait is over.
Spanish attacker Michu has signed with Napoli on loan from Swansea City. The terms of the deal as they're known are pretty straightforward: the loan runs until the end of the season. Napoli paid a loan fee of some €1.5 million up front, and the deal contains a purchase option of between €7-8 million, depending on reports. It hasn't been clearly reported as of yet, but it's believed that Napoli are paying Michu's full wages for the duration of the loan.
Many have expressed skepticism of making the deal a loan, but under the circumstances it makes far more sense for Napoli this way. Michu is coming off a season wracked with injury and poor form; by making the deal a loan with a purchase option, Napoli are protected against him having a second straight poor season. Think of it as an insurance clause.
The surprising thing is how low the purchase option is. If Michu returns to form, €8 million is a bargain. Swansea turned down a transfer offer of over €20 million just a year ago after his incredible debut season in the EPL, but the issues he had last season dropped his value significantly.
Michu can play as a striker or as an attacking midfielder, and has a history of success in both roles. The media has talked him up as Gonzalo Higuain's backup, but he can also provide valuable depth for Marek Hamsik that they've lacked for a long time. Stylistically, Michu's skillset fits the Serie A game very, very well, as well as the way Rafa Benitez sets up his side. This is an easy move to like for a whole lot of reasons.
The deal was announced on Twitter first with a welcome tweet from Aurelio De Laurentiis, then with this delightfully awkward photo oh him signing his contract:
A #Dimaro2014 c'è anche @Michuoviedo nuovo giocatore del #SSCNapoli #BienvenidoMichu #ForzaNapoliSempre pic.twitter.com/pBAPQshcRf— Official SSC Napoli (@sscnapoli) July 17, 2014
Swansea City have also confirmed the deal, after delaying it for a week for no apparent reason. No take backs, Huw Jenkins. He's Napoli's player now.
We'll be back later in the day with a full scouting report of Michu.