Manchester City have already made a couple of early moves in the transfer window this summer with the signings of Fernandinho and Jesus Navas, but recent reports indicate they are ready to head back to Spain for another attacker.
It would take City's spending way past the £70 million mark for the summer on just three players, but is Negredo the right man for the club? And exactly what will be bringing to the Premier League runners-up?
Alvaro Negredo: What Can He Bring? And Is He an Upgrade?
Negredo is a pure striker; he'll play in and around the penalty area for City and he will, quite simply, look to score goals.
On Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli, as individuals, Negredo is almost certainly not a direct upgrade. Both have had a bigger impact on the international scene already than Negredo has, and at 28 years of age when the new season starts, the Spaniard is not likely to achieve too much more.
He was left out of the Confederations Cup squad and has just 14 caps so far.
Individually, both Balotelli and Tevez, who have left Manchester City this calendar year, are better all-round footballers than Negredo, though as an in-the-box predator there's a case to be made for the preference of the Spaniard in terms of goal numbers and his shot conversion rate, which stood at close to 17 percent last season.
By comparison, Tevez, who has just left City, had a 10 percent conversion rate.
Outside the box, Tevez and current City forward Sergio Aguero offer an awful lot more than Negredo; the Spaniard will quickly lay the ball off to his midfield teammates and look to get himself into the area, but little else.
He is not a creative outlet, he will not drop into the midfield line to create space ahead of him for runners from deep, and he's not likely to dribble past two or three players before playing a through ball. What Negredo can do, though, is work the channels very well, provide a constant presence on the shoulder of the opposition back line and be a threat both on the ground and in the air, allowing him to fit into most modes of attack.
What City would be buying is a direct and single-minded striker, capable of scoring goals if provided with the service—but don't expect him to be as versatile as their other forwards, or indeed to do much of the service-providing himself.
Bottom Line: Should City Pursue the Deal?
Much depends on how manager Manuel Pellegrini is planning to use his front line.
Signing Jesus Navas is a pretty clear indication that City will operate with more width and pace than they did last season; in a typical Pellegrini 4-2-3-1, we might expect to see David Silva operate in the No. 10 role from now on as the creative outlet with a single striker ahead of him.
Presuming this is the role for Negredo to operate in, he would be certain to be capable of scoring at least 15 league goals and quite possibly more.
Is this enough? And more to the point, where does this leave Sergio Aguero?
The Argentine is a far superior technical forward than Negredo, works harder and is faster and stronger too, with more to his all-round game than the Spaniard.
He managed 12 goals for City in the league last season, in a strangely underperforming and lacklustre attack, but his debut campaign in England yielded 23 goals in 34 games. Could Negredo outperform him, given the same service and role?
In addition, there is the fee to consider.
Admittedly, City have no trouble in meeting even the highest of transfer fees, but the £22 million valuation on Negredo's head is much higher than his true worth, compared to other strikers brought into the Premier League.
The English club could sign a vastly superior and more proven forward for that money, and indeed they already have such players at the club. On the other hand, if Pellegrini is positive that Negredo is the missing link for his system and can possibly integrate Negredo and Aguero to play alongside each other—possibly with Silva to the left?—then perhaps he sees this as the marquee signing which could make all the difference.
£22 million is still a lot of money, but if he's the striker who lands City their second title in three seasons, then manager, fans and board alike will see the signing as entirely worth it.
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