Assessing the Contribution of Alvaro Negredo at Manchester City
Manchester City's summer signings have been a mixed bag so far.
Jesus Navas has been hit and miss, as he has had some excellent performances tempered by some quiet ones. Stevan Jovetic has rarely featured due to a series of niggling injuries that have held him back. Fernandinho has been superb and is growing in confidence with each match, while Martin Demichelis only made his debut on Sunday after a six-week layoff with a knee injury.
Then there's Alvaro Negredo, who, on balance, has probably been the pick of the new players to arrive at The Etihad. He has been as impressive as Fernandinho, but arrived for less—an initial £16.4 million (with £4.2 million in potential add-ons). He looks like an absolute bargain.
He had to fight for his place initially, with manager Manuel Pellegrini giving Edin Dzeko the opportunity to impress. Dzeko had struggled last season under Roberto Mancini, and Pellegrini felt he deserved first shot at being City's No. 9 considering he was already at the club.
However, Dzeko's inconsistency, a problem that has blighted him throughout his City career, opened the door for Negredo, and the Spaniard has grabbed it and looks unlikely to give it up.
His partnership with Aguero seems tailor-made. They have developed an understanding that belies the short time they've played together, with neat interplay, some lovely touches and plenty of goals as the defining features of a deadly partnership.
It's been a while since City have gone with a two-man attack. The Mancini era was defined by his 4-2-3-1 system that saw a lone striker supported by willing runners from deep. Now, with a two-man forward line, City's style harks back to times past.
A look at Negredo's statistics over the past two seasons demonstrate what a good player City have signed.
He scored 25 goals in 36 La Liga games last season, a superb strike rate. He finished fourth in the goalscoring charts behind Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Radamel Falcao.
However, as he has shown already at City, he isn't just a goalscorer. He created 39 chances for his teammates last season. His touch, vision and passing have taken a few people by surprise since his move to City. He has a superb all-round game.
He already has three league goals for City, creating seven chances for others and assisting two goals. His chance conversion rate stands at 50 percent (up from 19.5 percent in his final year at Sevilla), and his shot accuracy is also 50 percent (up from 45 percent in 2012/13).
The 28 league goals he has scored since the beginning of the 2012/13 season have all been scored inside the box, but his play in deeper positions has been equally as impressive for City. He's often found dropping off, allowing Aguero the freedom to concentrate on scoring goals, which he has done regularly—10 in all competitions so far.
Negredo has been central to Aguero's return to form.
It's fair to say that Negredo's first few months in a Blue shirt have been a success. He's scored goals, dislodged his main rival for a place and established a great partnership with a player in the form of his life.
It looks like money very well spent.
All statistics provided by Squawka
Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @TypicalCity.
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