In amongst the tidal wave of praise Aguero and Negredo have been receiving lately as a double act, the solo work that Negredo has been doing can be overshadowed. There can surely be no debate that Negredo is a far superior player and striking option to Dzeko, the Fredo Corleone of the team, even after his inevitable goal last night (unless you belong to that certain section of Bosnian fans who have recently introduced themselves to Typical City founder Rob Pollard.) His unique brand of footballing genius stems from being as strong as an old oak and having a knack for doing really, really cool things at exactly the right time.
The way Negredo holds the ball up is a joy to watch; Perfectly straight back up against the defender, right arm raised at a 45 degree angle holding them off whilst his left foot is on the ball, the expression of utter contempt for whatever poor player is trying to push him around before playing a pass at a time of his choosing. Nothing bothers him. The best/funniest example of this was during the Derby at the Etihad earlier this season when he held Rio Ferdinand off, making him look like a small child trying to climb a tree. Negredo seems to have that magic ability to know where his team mates are at all times. This allied with his hold up play has led to some inspired through balls and link up play.
Negredo also uses his evident physical strength for more mundane purposes such as shoving opposition defenders out of the way whenever the mood takes him. The pre-season game against Arsenal when he barged past Koscielny as if he didn’t exist before going on to score was the first evidence the new player in City’s ranks was a bit special.
As well as being an extremely cool looking man (That hair! Those tattoos!), Negredo has a habit of doing extremely cool looking things. The cross with the outside of his boot onto Aguero’s head away in the CSKA Moscow sandpit. The turn and goal at home to Bayern. The strolling dummy which confounded the West Ham defence and led to Aguero’s opener. Best of all, the shaming of Michael Dawson and the exquisite goal which followed against Tottenham. The latter was the soul brother of Aguero’s second goal against CSKA in Manchester, that little turn, twist and finish.
It is moments like these which set him apart from the average highly talented striker, and make us gasp. The best thing about these moments is that the true magnificence of them often only becomes apparent after multiple watches, such as the aforementioned mugging off of Michael Dawson. Negredo is doing these things because he can, doing them for a laugh.
His goal against Plzen on Wednesday after coming off the bench once again proved his worth, killing off a team who had everything to play for at a key moment. And that is what sums him up in the end. The best thing about Negredo is that neither the club nor the fans have to make apologies for him. He has embraced the Premier League immediately with his strength, skill and tirelessness. He has the gift of inspiration which is all too rare and he makes the most of it. The goals are flowing freely this year, and we wouldn’t have this season’s Aguero without our Negredo. The crowd who spent all summer saying City bought the wrong Spaniard have gone awfully quiet recently.
Written by Alex Timperley