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Alvaro Negredo

Alvaro Negredo is a good footballer, a prolific goal scorer in la Liga to boot, but is his skill set what Man City need?

Manchester are rumoured to be very close to signing Alvaro Negredo.

This is Ducker's take:

Multiple sources are now reporting the same information: The 27 year old Negredo will become a Manchester City player. The cost of the player may well be significantly lower than is reported by the media as was the case with Navas.

This is what he does best:

YouTube deceives and flatters in equal measure. Negredo looked a tidy finisher in that clip of his 2012/13 goals. My overriding takeaway from that clip wasn't any form of excitement or trepidation at his imminent arrival, it was merely a name that kept repeating itself in my head. Edin. Edin. EDIN DZEKO.

This initial, and admittedly somewhat premature, comparison may be deeply unfair to either player, but it is hard to watch that clip and not see the similarities. Both players look to be good close range finishers, strong targets, scorers of aerial goals. I am not the only person to see this comparison:

This tweet came from our very own ZacMacPhee and having seen a little of Negredo in action and asked a couple of my la Liga watching friends it is hard to disagree with what Zac is saying. Dzeko and Negredo have similar physical profiles and are stylistically not too far from each other.

The burning question: Why Are Man City Signing A 27yo Near-Copy Of Edin Dzeko?

  • Pellegrini. We all know that new managers bring in players they favour, players they feel they may be able to trust to fit into their tactical setup. The potential arrival of Negredo fits this bill. Pellegrini may well have a clear idea of his Man City template and believes Negredo is the man to spearhead that.
  • Dzeko is gooooooooone. Negredo is his direct replacement.
  • Maybe, as our own MixedKnuts suggested on twitter, we are trying to give the rest of the title contenders a chance by signing a player who bleeds away possession with his poor final 1/3rd passing completion (Dzeko bleeds it away too).
  • Man City scouting and analytics department has picked up on something that Negredo excels at which isn't immediately clear to those of us with untrained eyes.

Now, I want to pick up on points 3 and 4.

Negredo's Passing Completion %

Raw Pass% Non Headed Pass%
Negredo 64.10% 71.40%
Dzeko 69.00% 79.50%

Both players, it's fair to say, can be labelled modern target men. Both Negredo's and Dzeko's raw pass % are very underwhelming, even when we strip out the headed passes (target man) neither player possesses a strong pass completion%. Negredo's is particularly disappointing, although he may well have been playing in a team that didn't keep the ball aswell as Man City did..

The main issue with Negredo's and Dzeko's pass completion % is that they are so far off the rest of Man City's attacking players completion percentage. Nasri, Silva, Tevez and Aguero all completed passes at around 82-85%, and those numbers are without stripping away headed passes.

I do think that passing completion percentage is failing to capture all the information that we need to make a judgement on how well a player may fit into a highly technical passing system. But for the moment, and with the limited information we have, Negredo really doesn't look like a sensible option in regards to fitting in well with the many creative, quick passing players Man City possess.

Read this on passing percentage bleed.

Negredo's Shooting Accuracy and Scoring%

Now, point 4 went something like this:

  • Man City scouting and analytics department has picked up on something that Negredo excels at which isn't immediately clear to those of us with untrained eyes.

I am no scout, nor expert. My eyes are far from from trained or sharp. But I looked at Negredo's career numbers, changed the format into per 90 and found that Negredo has some pretty nice numbers indeed.

Per 90 Goals Shots SoT Sc% Shooting Accuracy %
Sevilla Sevilla 0.74 4.43 1.60 46.30 36.00
Sevilla Sevilla 0.54 3.29 1.40 38.89 42.35
Sevilla Sevilla 0.69 3.79 1.45 47.62 38.18
Sevilla Sevilla 0.49 3.43 1.51 32.35 44.16
Almeria Almeria 0.61 2.79 1.25 48.72 44.83
Almeria Almeria 0.41 2.76 1.10 37.14 39.77

TOTAL 0.59 3.43 1.38 42.50 40.20

Negredo's SoT numbers are not elite and may not be worthy of the fee being talked off but they are pretty nice and should improve playing in Man City's system.

Shots per 90 aren't elite and last season definitely looks like an outlier, but his two best years have come in the last 3 seasons.

Goals per 90 is strong and trending.

Negredo's shooting accuracy is historically very good, although last year was an off year and although the players Scoring% has always been historically high I am always concerned with players who score on such a high percentage of their shots. For we must think of any regression that may happen, but his career scoring% is pretty high and that soothe some fears about a crash back down to earth.

Final Thoughts

I'll be honest: I am biased. I held a preconceived idea about Negredo from the limited viewings I had of the player. He does look a bit short of pace and does seem very much to be a similar player to Dzeko in terms of style and what he can offer on the pitch.

Those preconceived ideas were not helped when I looked into Negredo's pass completion percentage. And, my Lord his pass completion percentage is well below what I would hope for in a forward who may sign for Manchester City. But it's not all bad. In fact Negredo's career numbers per 90 impressed me so much that I can actually see where Man City are coming from with this signing.

Negredo's numbers are good. So good that, to some extent, I have changed my mind on the player. Yes, his passing % and pace look sub par but his numbers are too strong to ignore. His numbers are strong enough to change minds and to wear down my previous opinion to a certain extent.

Negredo is no Cavani, he doesn't register SoT per 90 like Cavani, but neither is Negredo priced like Cavani.

Man City needed a striker who is in his peak years, has a strong track record and wouldn't cost £50m. Negredo, despite some red flags, is the player identified as the best option. At the start of this article I would have laughed at that previous sentence, but Negredo's numbers have won me over. I'd like a little more pace in the player but I think if Negredo had Aguero type pace then the potential cost of this transfer would move from £20m to a significantly higher sum of money.

Negredo could be a fine purchase as long the cost is kept below £20m.

If Negredo arrives, there are not many holes left in this squad. I'd suggest an upgrade on Lescott and a young prospect who can play left midfield and attacking midfield. There isn't much more to add to this Man City team.