Middlesbrough are continuing their pursuit of new talent ahead of the Premier League season, the focus of which remains on the European market.
The latest name to be linked with a move to the club is Spanish striker, Alvaro Negredo.
The Valencia forward is rumoured to be close to agreeing a loan deal, which will see him arrive at the Riverside Stadium on an initial one-year deal, with an option to make it permanent. Negredo is a striker, who can boast Premier League, La Liga and Champions League experience, in addition to winning the European Championship with Spain.
Negredo started his career at Rayo Vallecano before moving to Real Madrid but really made his name at Almeria, where he bagged 32 goals in 70 appearances for the club. This was enough for Real Madrid to use the buyback clause they had inserted into his contract and he returned to the Bernabeu in 2009. He then moved to Sevilla for around £10 million in the same year and enjoyed a very successful period at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, scoring 70 goals in 139 appearances.
The good form of Negredo, was enough to tempt Manchester City to spend close to £17 million to bring the striker to English football. Despite only lasting one season at the Etihad, Negredo recorded impressive statistics of 23 goals in 48 games for Manchester City but it was not enough to see him stay in Manchester the following season, as financial fair play, among other factors, saw the Spaniard leave.
Negredo has spent the past two seasons at Valencia, the first on loan and the second on a permanent basis. After criticising then manager, Nuno Espírito Santo, Negredo did not feature for some time but made a return to action under Gary Neville. However, Negredo’s time at Valencia has been far short of a success, unlike some bingo bonuses!
At 30 years of age, Negredo is reaching the stage of his career where it’s all or nothing. A robust centre forward, who is very competitive and physical, Negredo is capable of playing up-front alone or with a partner, which would give Boro options, especially away from home. He has a preference of playing alongside someone smaller than himself, who will benefit from his hold up play and knock-downs. Negredo should not be thought of as simply a target man however, as his goal scoring record at Almeria, Sevilla and Manchester City, shows a striker who can finish.
Negredo would certainly be an improvement on the current options up-front at Boro and if he can recapture the form shown during the early part of his time at Manchester City, he will be more than a handful for Premier League defences this season.