Ahead of the January transfer window, Alvaro Negredo was linked with a move to Chelsea in order to bolster their attack and provide current club Sevilla with the financial means to push on. But with Demba Ba’s transfer to Stamford Bridge and Sevilla president Jose Maria del Nido expressing a desire to keep the player unless a irresistible offer came in, it looks as though Negredo may be staying put for the time being.
But is that the whole story? Del Nido says the club have rejected a bid for the striker in the past few weeks (Sky Sports) and that it was from one of Europe’s elite. Interest should be high in the Spanish international and perhaps there are other Premier League clubs in England who would benefit from the powerful striker’s presence.
How would he do in England? Negredo is a striker who is readymade for the physicality of English football. With so many clubs looking to play with one striker ahead of a five-man midfield, Negredo would be a perfect fit—and one who is available, despite what the Sevilla president says.
The thing about the player and the current setup at Sevilla is that both he and his club should be doing better. They failed to make the Champions League this season and really don’t look anywhere near consistent enough to land a top four spot come May. That doesn’t dispute the fact that they have one of the most impressive starting XIs in La Liga, with players who would be desired all over England.
So what’s the problem? The idea that can’t be forgotten is that Negredo appears to be in a battle with Roberto Soldado for a position in the Spanish squad. Both failed to stay on at Real Madrid and make an impact there — although that certainly doesn’t take anything away from their quality — but they are now the main figures in two very good Spanish sides.
Negredo, for all his ability and power up front, just doesn’t have the same level of consistency as Soldado. You’ve got to wonder if that’s a result of the rest of the team’s lack of continuous bite throughout the season, or if his slumps in front of goal causes his team to fall away.
On his day, Negredo looks like a top class striker who would be at home in any of the leading Premier League sides. But then comes the frustration, the disappointing finishing and the evidence from Euro 2012 which raises the question as to whether he can cut it in the big time and away from Sevilla.
I like Negredo and I think he’d be a good signing for many clubs in England and around Europe. However, I do feel that for a similar price Soldado would be the better option. The Valencia striker provides similar qualities but gives a greater level of confidence in front of goal.
How would La Liga react? Well the transfer of Negredo out of the league certainly won’t be felt as heavily as Javi Martinez’s move or Fernando Llorente’s impending move, but that’s largely because of the recruitment policy Athletic Bilbao adhere to. But it will certainly be seen as another big name to be drawn away leaving Spain a little weaker and without as great a spark. There are a number of outstanding talents around Spain who haven’t been picked up with any serious interest from abroad, but it remains the case that the best either leave for Barcelona and Real Madrid or leave the country altogether.
You look more at the financial state of the Spanish clubs rather than the loss of these players. With the case of Valencia, Juan Mata, David Villa and David Silva have all left, yet none have been replaced by quality equal or better. Atletico Madrid can’t get away from the fact that they will eventually lose Radamel Falcao, despite replacing Sergio Aguero more than adequately.
It’s the disappointment that Spain can’t afford to keep its best players, but it’s the realisation from other nations and leagues that there does appear to be an endless stream of talent in Spanish football, as is so often suggested by the national team.
If picked up for the right price, Negredo would be a very good buy for Premier League clubs. The most interesting aspect of his move will be to determine whether he can flourish into a consistent and lethal finisher in a foreign league. He’s more than equipped with the means to do so.