It was little more than exactly a month ago that it was reported that West Ham United had seen their tentative £14.5million opening offer for Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo knocked back with the club not deeming the offer worthy of Negredo’s quality and the player preferring to move to a club which could offer Champions League football. Fast forward a month and it is Manchester City who appear to be in pole position to secure the services of the Spanish forward for a mammoth £22million which is just five million less than the fee paid to Wolfsburg for Edin Dzeko.
According to The Guardian, Sevilla president José María del Nido has denied that there has been any bid from Manchester City as yet for Negredo with the only offer coming from fellow Spanish rivals Atletico Madrid who continue to look to replace the recently departed Falcao, “Manchester City have not made any offer for him… and the offer from Atletico was turned down 11 days ago.” Spanish reporters are suggesting that whilst Negredo was initially keen on a return to the Spanish capital, the interest from Manchester City has turned his head with England now the most likely destination for the former Real Madrid target man.
Manchester City are yet to confirm their interest in Alvaro Negredo as they look to keep transfer matters a secret from the majority of the press however an Atletico Madrid representative somewhat let the cat out of the bag earlier this week as he admitted to Spanish media that Atletico had zero chance of signing Negredo as they couldn’t compete with Manchester City’s financial capabilities, “We can’t compete with the petrodollars… we’re speaking but we won’t be able to reach the amount Manchester City can offer.”
Negredo is coming off the back of the most successful campaign of his entire career in terms of goalscoring with the Sevilla forward netting an impressive twenty five goals in La Liga during the 2012-2013 campaign which totalled up to thirty one when his six strikes in the Copa del Rey were taken into account. Negredo standing at six feet and one inch is nicknamed ‘La fiera de Vallecas’ which is translated to ‘The beast of Vallecas’ with the Spanish forward being renowned for using his physical attributes to power past a defender to create a goalscoring opportunity for himself. Negredo would be able to adapt to the physical nature of the Premier League with little effort, he can hold up the ball and bring midfielders into attacking moves as we saw so often with Negredo and Jesus Navas linking up on the right hand side in the last four seasons at Sanchez Pizjuán.
This is a partnership that could be rekindled at Manchester City with Jesus Navas having signed on at Eastlands earlier this summer. Make no mistake however Alvaro Negredo is not at all over reliant on his physical skills to beat defenders, he is also very quick footed for a man of his stature with the Sevilla supporters having seen countless instances of clever footwork and technical ability over the past four seasons with one volley against Espanyol struck from the edge of the penalty area and nestling in the top corner of Carlos Kameni’s net particularly resonating in the memory.
A number of Manchester City supporters have expressed their unease via social media websites, at their club spending such a lofty amount on a twenty seven year old striker who they believe to be remarkably similar to Edin Dzeko however this is simply something they need not worry about. Alvaro Negredo, whilst similar to Dzeko in size and ability when it comes to holding the ball up, is completely different to Dzeko in terms of movement when off the ball. Negredo is far more pro-active than Dzeko with the Spaniard willing to work hard and press when his team isn’t in possession of the ball and when other members of his team have the ball Negredo is always looking to make a movement that will increase his chances of getting in a position to score. Dzeko on the other hand whilst you can’t fault his work ethic on most occasions, struggles with the pace of the Premier League and is not given the same time to hold a position and wait for the ball to be played into him that he was afforded in the Bundesliga.
A Negredo/Dzeko partnership could well prove to be fruitful for Manchester City with the hard work of Negredo no doubt complementing the technical ability and positioning of Dzeko however the vast amount of attacking midfielders Manchester City now have in their squad it doesn’t seem likely that Negredo and Dzeko would have too many opportunities to play together should the Spaniard sign with Manchester City.
It must also be said that the immediate future of Edin Dzeko is still undecided with German media believing that Dzeko’s preferred destination is Borussia Dortmund and he will only make the move to Signal Iduna Park should Robert Lewandowski leave the club which at this moment looks unlikely with Dortmund unwilling to negotiate the sale of their star striker with fierce rivals Bayern Munich.
Earlier I mentioned the vast number of attacking midfield players Manchester City have at their disposal with David Silva, Samir Nasri and even Sergio Aguero having the ability to play in the ‘false nine’ position just behind the central striker. What is very interesting is that Alvaro Negredo thrives in the lone forward position, Negredo loves to come deep into the opponent’s half of the pitch in search of the ball and is very capable in bringing midfielders into play once he has the ball. Often during the past four seasons, we have seen Sevilla win the ball in their own half through Didier Zokora or Hedwiges Maduro and then play it towards Negredo who will be positioned either on or just ahead of the half way line, Negredo would then take a maximum of three touches before working the ball to either Jesus Navas or Diego Capel who would have made a run in behind him or down their respective flank.
Negredo forms good partnerships with smaller, technically gifted players and the idea of bringing him to the club and allowing him to forge such a partnership with David Silva and Samir Nasri must be very appealing to Txiki Begiristain. With Manuel Pellegrini preferring a 4-2-2-2 system during his time with Malaga, utilising two holding midfield players, two attacking midfield players and then two attackers it isn’t difficult to see how Negredo could fit into that system. David Silva and Samir Nasri could be deployed as the two attacking midfielders with Jesus Navas as an alternative. Yaya Toure and Fernandinho would sit just behind them as the two very mobile holding midfielders which could make Manchester City a really hard team to play against when they are not in possession of the ball.
The movement of Toure and Fernandinho in terms of pressing opposition could be absolutely vital to City’s title challenge. The two attackers would then be Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo with the Argentine just dropping off ever so slightly leaving Negredo very centralised and able to link up with Navas, Silva or Nasri depending on the individuals on the pitch at that time. With Negredo in tow within this system, Manchester City’s fluid attacking play would keep its liquid movement so much more so than if Edin Dzeko was deployed as the central striker.
With the deal for Negredo still in the pipeline and not quite yet complete it is worth noting that a lot can change in the current climate of the transfer market but the current signs all point towards Alvaro Negredo being a Manchester City player before too long and in my mind it would be a really astute if expensive signing and would cover the loss felt by the departure of Carlos Tevez far more than any potential loss should Edin Dzeko leave the club this summer.
Written by Chris Winterburn
Follow Chris Winterburn on Twitter @Chriswin4