In the four years that Spanish defender Miguel Llera has played in English football he has averaged over one club a season. With his agent recently announcing to the media that his client is about to put a transfer request into Sheffield Wednesday you have to ask yourself is Llera complicit in these decisions or just along for the ride?
‘He is probably the most unlucky man in the world…life’s about timing sometimes and, unfortunately for Miguel, his timing at the club stunk.’
These are the subtle words of then Blackpool manager Ian Holloway. Holloway fought off competition from Norwich City to sign the central defender in 2011.
Llera was recruited due to the uncertain futures of Ian Evatt and Stephen Crainey. The Blackpool manager was preparing for their departure from the club. Unfortunately for Llera, both players were retained and the Spaniard only made one senior appearance for The Seasiders.
The defender was loaned out to Brentford and Sheffield Wednesday but with a heavily pregnant wife back in Blackpool Llera wanted a place to settle.
When The Owls asked to sign the defender permanently he appeared to have found a settled life, adoration from the fans and promotion in his first six months.
So what has gone wrong this season and why is his agent putting him in the January shop window?
Looking for a better deal?
Looking back over Miguel’s four years in English football it’s not difficult to find comments and behaviours that contradict the cult hero status he has gained at Sheffield Wednesday.
Llera left his first English club under a cloud and then later declared to the South London Press that he ‘left MK Dons for a simple reason – they didn’t value my ability.’ He lasted ten months at the club before refusing to sign a new deal.
Charlton Athletic signed Miguel in the close season of 2009 and he became a fan’s favourite for his style of play and ability to score goals but again in 2011 he refused to sign a new deal which under the Bosman ruling made him a free agent. There was a sense from Llera that he could perhaps do better.
Blackpool pipped the Canaries to the post and Llera told the press conference at his unveiling that ‘people in England see I have played in League 1 for the last couple of seasons but I have also played in La Liga in Spain…so I think I have what it takes to succeed.’
Llera never played higher than the second division in La Liga. Maybe these were signs of an overinflated ego and a player who feels he is worth more?
And so to his current situation, not for the first time Llera’s agent has used the January window as a ‘great opportunity’ for his client. As the Spanish defender’s contract with the Owl expires in the summer, Llera can sign a pre-contract with another club in order to procure his next move.
Sheffield Wednesday manager Dave Jones is understanding of Llera’s situation. ‘I haven’t got an issue with Miguel trying to get a better contract, that’s how football is, the way of the world.’
There have been question marks about Llera’s on the pitch attitude this season as he has been overly aggressive, reprimanded by referees for handling them and accusations of bribery from a Bristol City player.
At the age of 33 and an assurance from Jones that he is still in his first team plans, will Llera get a better deal elsewhere? It’ll depend on whether Llera think the Owls appreciate him or not.