With Sergio Aguero and David de Gea already on these shores Tottenham Hotspur should make Alvaro Negredo the next La Liga star to join the Premier League this summer.
Over the last couple of seasons La Liga was attracting the Premier League past and future stars. Cristiano Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano all jumped ship and Kaka, Benzema and Zlatan Ibrahimovic bypassed The Best League In The World™ to play in sunny Spain. This summer sees a reversing of those fortunes. The Manchester clubs are leading the way. City signed Maradona’s son in law Sergio Agüeroand United secured ex Atlético Madrid stopper David de Gea, both at silly money. Valencia’s Juan Mata looks like he’ll be a Premier League player next season but there’s a Spanish striker who’s less visible on the ‘he’s famous so he must be good’ radar that dictates the rumour mill during silly season, Alvaro Negredo.
Don’t get me wrong it’s not like Negredo is a total unknown. He’s no young Spanish kid who nobody had seen play who brought his boots along one day, was given an unlikely chance and saved the day scoring the goals that will keep the youth club open in the traditions of every kids sport film made from 1985 to present. Alvaro is well known to Real Madrid and has been groomed for greatness from a young age. However, as he doesn’t play on television for one of the big two and he’s not married to the offspring of arguably the greatest player to kick a pig’s bladder he’s probably not a household name to fans of the Premier League. But if I get my way and Daniel Levy pulls his finger out that’ll soon change.
When I heard Tottenham Hotspur were interested in Alvaro Negredo I was excited. He’s had a good footballing education in Madrid turning out for Real Madrid Castilla (the reserve side) and impressing then coach Fabio Capello. Although he never played for the senior side whenever Negredo’s been sold by the club they’ve inserted a buy back clause. Real sold him then bought him back after he spent two years at unfashionable Almeria. Then after a lucky escape after being linked with Phil Brown’s Hull City Madrid re-sold him Alvaro to Sevilla where he resides now.
It’s been said the he wasn’t given the chance to break into the 1st team as the Galactico projects at Real have kept him on the sidelines, whereas it would’ve been a different story if he played for Barcelona. All of which is good news for Spurs because now we have a chance of bagging a striker who’s lit up the Spanish League.
What remains to be seen is if Negredo can settle in the Premier League. If he can recreate the aspects of his game that make him so effective in Spain it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
With 31 goals in 73 appearances in two seasons at Sevilla and 63 in 143 in his four years in the top flight Negredo has shown he can do it in La Liga. The Madrid born striker has plenty of fans in the capital but is not universally appreciated. When he was sold to Almeria in 2009 Real Madrid forums and comments boards were split with fans on one hand pleading with president Perez to keep him. They claimed he’d be a better option than Benzema. On the other hand some Marists dismissed him as big, strong and stocky rather than technically gifted and quick. If you take the fans view at face value that shouldn’t be too much of a problem for Spurs as they’re the attributes we’d be buying him for. But with a bit more digging it seems the Madrid fans who thought he was a lump were harsh in their appraisal. To say Negredo’s slow and clunky is only an accusation you can level at him when he’s standing next to Cristiano Ronaldo. Granted he is big, strong and can outmuscle a centre back for a ball whacked over the top but he’s also got a turn of pace, has a decent touch and plenty of guile. Negredo’s as likely to finish with a delicate chip as he is to blast it straight through the keeper. He’s also got an eye for an assist, suggesting he’s useful outside the box or when he’s not scoring goals, something only Crouch of our current crop of strikers seems capable of doing.
What remains to be seen is if Negredo can settle in the Premier League. If he can recreate the aspects of his game that make him so effective in Spain it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. At 6 ft 1in and 13 stone he should be big enough. He’s a threat at set pieces, and although a little one footed his left is a wand and with it he has outstanding volleying technique. His international goal against USA this summer showed intelligent movement and some of the goals he’s scored in Spain demonstrated real bravery. He’s also decent from the spot which is something I can’t say about too many Spurs players. The only one’s I’d trust from the current squad to take a pressure penalty is VDV and maybe Roman Pavlyuchenko. If Negredo joins the ranks at White Hart Lane I’d certainly add him to that list.
So with the good pedigree and the skill set to make an impact at Spurs is the price right? Currently the number £18 million is being bandied about. I suspect Daniel Levy could drive that down but even if he couldn’t the lad’s worth a punt. At 25 he’s young enough to be resold for at least what we paid, or like Dimitar Berbatov before him, shed loads more. Unfortunately with his Madrid background if he did exceptionally well for Spurs you can see him agitating for a move to his ‘spiritual home’. But if that happens it’ll mean a) he would have been a goal machine for us b) we’d pull Real Madrid’s pants down on the price.
There is one aspect of his game I’d like Harry Redknapp to coach out of him if Negredo joins the Lilywhites. In his younger days he was partial to a forward flip celebration after scoring a goal. I’d prefer if he’d do the aeroplane or go for a nice firm handshake. If he scores as many goals as I hope he’ll be flipping 20 + times a season. A recipe for disaster but all things considered it’s a reasonable risk to take.
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