According to a report by Stuart Brennan of the Manchester Evening News, Spanish side Valencia are keen on prising Alvaro Negredo away from the Etihad, with club president Amadeo Salvo, backed by owner Peter Lim, reportedly having made contact already.
Negredo is currently recovering from a metatarsal injury which could keep him out until October, but Valencia are seemingly keen to sign the striker regardless of his injury situation.
Brennan suggests City made it clear earlier in the summer that the three first-team players they were prepared to lose were Javi Garcia, Matija Nastasic and Negredo. Garcia has since joined Zenit, with Nastasic also thought to be surplus to requirements and available for transfer.
As it stands, Negredo looks set to miss out on City’s Champions League squad, with UEFA only permitting clubs to name 16 non-homegrown players in their squads for the competition. The Premier League, however, allow 17, meaning the club is currently on the threshold of league rules.
Negredo, therefore, looks set to return from injury and play no part in the club's group-stage games in the Champions League, a situation he is unlikely to enjoy.
With Negredo also thought to be unhappy having dropped beneath Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic in the pecking order at City, there’s a growing feeling that a deal for his signature could be struck.
City, though, hold a strong position at the negotiating table. Negredo has three years remaining on his current deal, and manager Manuel Pellegrini, who wants to improve on last season’s haul of two trophies, will want four strikers to choose from.
Pellegrini knows full well that the rigours of four competitions requires strength in depth, and four strikers for a side who plays with two upfront is generally considered to be the required amount needed to make an aggressive assault on multiple pieces of silverware.
Memories of Negredo’s blistering form during the first half of last season are still strong. He may have failed to score in his last 16 appearances, but his 23 goals before the end of January and his powerful, aggressive style of play, which caused defenders so many problems, were a huge part of City’s form over December and January.
Pellegrini knows that returning Negredo to that level when he returns from injury would make his side stronger, and so only a huge bid from Valencia would convince the Chilean to let him leave.
Brennan believes £25 million is the club’s asking price, and if Valencia were to reach that level in negotiations, the club may well be willing sell.
Valencia’s new owner has wiped out the club’s £160 million debt and has made funds available to invest in the first team. They’ve already brought in Bruno Zuculini from City on loan, but a big-name striker would certainly set pulses racing among the Valencia fans.
Negredo has a reputation in La Liga as being a striker who guarantees goals. He scored 25 in the league during in his final season at Sevilla, placing him fourth in the top goalscorer list behind Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Radamel Falcao. He scored a total of 70 goals in 139 appearances during his four seasons at the club.
He has also bagged 10 goals in 21 international games for Spain.
Earlier in the summer, Negredo reiterated his desire to stay at City, claiming, via Richard Tanner of the Daily Express:
I had a difficult end to the season and that's why there has been a lot of talking but I've been very happy here from the first day I arrived. I don't want to leave City. I'm very happy and very settled here. Maybe [I miss Spain] a bit more on the personal side than when we talk about football but I don't cry easily. I am sensible but I have to love that person a lot to be homesick.
The desire to stay, fight for his place and prove to everyone his form in the early part of last season wasn't a fluke is likely to be strong, but a move back to La Liga at a club where he will be first-choice may prove an attractive proposition.
However this one pans out, City hold all the cards and won't be forced into doing anything that doesn't suit them.
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