STEVE Clarke believes tomorrow’s clash with Swansea (ko 3pm) will pit two of the Barclays Premier League's best summer signings against each other.
The Hawthorns boss insists Bosman recruit Claudio Yacob is in that bracket after impressing in the ninth-placed Baggies’ engine room following his summer move from boyhood club Racing Club de Avellaneda in Argentina.
And, like Yacob, Michu has grabbed the headlines in his first season in English football, after signing from Rayo Vallecano for £2million in July.
The Spaniard helped fire the Swans to Capital One Cup glory at Wembley last month and currently sits joint-fourth in the Barclays Premier League scoring chart with 15 goals to his name.
Now Yacob is tasked with the role of helping the Albion backline stop Michu, who scored the opener in the Swans’ 3-1 win over the Baggies in November.
“When you get a player like Yacob and he turns out to be as good a player as he is for the team, that’s great,” said Clarke.
“Normally a player of the type of Claudio is a players’ player, a manager’s player or a coaches’ player and doesn’t really stand out – he just does his job for the team.
“But in doing the job for our team he has managed to stand out as being exceptionally good at it.
“I think he’s been tremendous and a big, big bonus for us.
“His English is much-improved, although I’m not sure he understands my Scottish!
“I’ve had one or two decent conversations with him recently and his character is good.
“He’s a little bit like you see on the pitch – quiet, determined and sometimes I get the feeling he’s got more to say but he doesn’t quite trust his words yet.
“I think he will grow into himself.
“He just does his job, and it shows how good he is at his job, because normally he’s the type of player that just slips under the radar and is noticed by his team-mates and coaches, but he has stood out.”
Clarke added: “I wasn’t aware of Michu in the summer.
“If I go through the scouting list I bet he’s on it, but I wasn’t aware of him - it’s one we missed!
“It's difficult to find a player now that nobody knows about and nobody has got.
“To be fair to Michael Laudrup and Swansea he obviously has a good grasp of the Spanish market because he's worked there.
“He would know the capabilities of a player like Michu.
“His use of the Spanish market last summer was excellent. They've brought in some really good players from Spain.”