Alvaro Negredo signed a season-long loan deal with Middlesbrough last week, and the Valencia forward joined the head coach Aitor Karanka and his Spanish contingent. Negredo is the marquee signing, and his experience will be essential in Middlesbrough’s cause this season – avoiding the relegation.
Karanka brought several excellent players this offseason including goalkeeper Victor Valdes, who will clearly be the No.1 choice, former Liverpool right-back Antonio Barragan, Dutch midfielder De Roon from Atalanta for £13 mil, Uruguayan Gaston Ramirez for free from Southampton, and young Dane Viktor Fischer from Ajax. Boro invested around £30 mil to strengthen the squad, and it seems that these players can keep them up this season.
Negredo will not be under pressure like he was when moved from Sevilla to Man City for more than £16 mil, and with his previous experience in England, he should be the leading player in Karanka’s plans. However, the club currently has Jordan Rhodes, David Nugent, and Christian Stuani, and they all playing strikers so the healthy competition could be quite significant, particularly in the early stages of the Premier League. Alvaro should blend well into the team; he will certainly not be nostalgic with five more Spaniards in the squad including the head coach.
The Spanish international could be used as a target man in a 4-5-1 formation with Nugent, Ramirez, and Downing playing behind him, so the distribution of quality passes will not be the problem. Negredo scored 23 goals in 48 appearances for Man City so the goals will come, that’s for sure. He already bagged a goal on his debut in a friendly against Alcorcon and needed only 34 minutes to do so.
The Spaniard’s presence in the team will stimulate other fellow strikers to show their maximum and compete on a higher level. The target of 10-15 goals in the season is more than realistic for former Sevilla man, and his qualities mixed with experience should be enough to be one of the biggest signings of the season.
Negredo is more similar to Rhodes than Nugent or Stuani, and David Nugent expressed his excitement when Negredo arrived at Riverside. The Englishman wasn’t worried about the competition in attack, on the contrary, he is satisfied that the team brought quality players, and will be happy to play alongside Negredo.
Alvaro Negredo started his career in Rayo Vallecano in 2005, and soon after Fabio Capello brought him to Real Madrid, but failed to play a single competitive game for the Galacticos. In 2007, he moved to Almeria and became their top scorer with 32 goals in 70 matches for the club.
Real Madrid exercised the buy-back option in Negredo’s contract and brought him back for only £4 mil in 2009, only to sell him to Sevilla straight away.
With the likes of Karim Benzema, Gonzalo Higuaín, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Ruud van Nistelrooy, and Cristiano Ronaldo, Negredo didn’t have guaranteed place in the first team under Pellegrini, so he joined Sevilla for £13 million. He had his best years while in Sevilla; scoring 70 goals in 139 matches before sealed the £16.4 million plus add-ons deal with Manchester City in 2013.
Negredo was effective in his lone season at Etihad; scoring nine goals in the BPL, and winning the League Cup. The City loaned him to Valencia in September 2014 with an obligatory purchase clause of around £23 million. He struggled to keep his starting place in two years at Mestalla, so Valencia loaned him to Middlesbrough, where he’ll be on a £100,000 per week contract. The 30-years-old striker played 21 times for Spain and scored ten goals. He was the part of the team that won the European Championship in 2012.