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A Beast of a signing! What we can expect from new boy Negredo; It's taken a while to get over the line, but the deal to make Alvaro Negredo a Boro player for the coming season has been completed. DOMINIC SHAW finds out more about the former Manchester City hitman.

BACK in January 2014, Alvaro Negredo was described in one report as a "vital cog in City's goal machine".

Manchester City were the club in question and Negredo, who had "earned cult status with his new supporters and spread fear among opponents" had contributed to 23 goals in 33 games.

Hard to believe it was the same striker who went on to fail to hit the net in his last 16 appearances in that campaign, the 2013/14 season. His subsequent move to Valencia didn't quite work out, though there were still signs of the quality that made him one of the most in-demand strikers in Europe following his prolific stint at Sevilla.

There was the hat-trick against Granada in the Copa del Rey in the January of this year and the goal that put Valencia 1-0 up against Barcelona in the second leg of the same competition two rounds later. Unfortunately, Valencia had lost the first leg 7-0. His performance in that second leg against Barca at the Mestalla led MailOnline, in their report, to describe him as "an enigma".

It went on: "Alvaro Negredo is unpredictable. You never know if the former Manchester City striker will have a great game or a poor one, be a handful for the defence or do their job for them. He has proved that at Valencia in the last few weeks.

"With his goal here, he now has six in his last 10 games, which is pretty good.

"He also has a similar number of horrendous misses, including four bad ones against Sporting Gijon recently, which cost Neville his first league win as Valencia manager."

Better than a goal every two games for Negredo is an average Aitor Karanka would be most pleased with this coming season. We familiarise ourself with the man they call the Beast. Real Madrid couldn't decide what they wanted to do with him You know the ongoing situation with Alvaro Morata at the minute? Well his namesake was in a similar situation towards the start of his career, though understandably not as high profile.

Real allowed Morata to leave the club to join Juventus a couple of years ago, but made sure they slotted a buyback option in his contract in case he suddenly found himself, as say, Spain's first choice centre-forward...

They bought him back this summer at a reduced price and are now effectively running an auction on his sale. And they used the same buy-back option with Negredo nine years ago.

Negredo was sold to Almeria back in 2007 but within two years, after he'd established himself as a goalscoring regular, they had him back at the Bernebeu for around PS4m.

Yet Manuel Pellegrini, then Real manager, was straight up with Negredo and advised him to move to Sevilla, who were in interested - perhaps understandable when you consider he was behind Cristiano Ronaldo, Raul, Karim Benzema, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Gonzalo Higuain and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in the pecking order.

Off to Sevilla he went. Although, guess what, Real made sure they slapped another buy-back option in there.

'The Beast' A POWERHOUSE of a centreforward, standing at 6ft 1in, scoring goals and not giving defenders a minute's peace - it's no wonder the nickname of The Beast stuck.

So what does he think of it? "I'm just the opposite of a beast," he said in an excellent interview with the Daily Mail two years ago.

"I'm totally different. I'm very affectionate as a person and I like to spend time chilling with my family."

It was at Almeria where he first picked up the moniker, a dressing room thing, he says, which became public following his move to Manchester City.

It's not the only nickname he's had, though.

"At first, I was called The Shark because I had a bit of a Mohican haircut and I used to celebrate goals by clasping my hands above my head."

Don't be fooled by the beast tagline, however. Negredo is more than just a bustling targetman.

"A lot of people maybe make the mistake of thinking I'm just a big strapping centre forward who is going to be barging into defenders and creating trouble physically,' he says.

"Yes, there is that side to me, but I think I have an extra plus where I do try to show that little bit of invention. I try to surprise people with a touch or something spectacular in a finish."

A family-inspired goal celebration WHEN Negredo hits the net, hopefully a common occurrence this coming season, he follows it by planting his lips on the inside of his right wrist and then the left bicep.

It's a family inspired celebration.

Inked onto his wrist are the letters CRJ, the initials of his elder brothers, both professional footballers and parents.

And the initials of his wife, Clara, and daughter, Aitana, appear on his bicep.

He also has Aitana's footprint tattooed on his left foot. Hopefully that left foot fires Boro to success this season.

'The perfect striker' GARY Neville said so.

When the ex-Manchester United right-back took charge of Valencia last season, getting the best out of misfiring Negredo was one of his priorities.

"Watching him at Manchester City two or three seasons ago, he made a big impact in the Premier League and he was almost like the perfect striker; he was wonderful and there is no reason why he can't get back to that level.

"I have a lot of confidence and belief in him because I have seen him at such a high level. We know that he can't get to that absolute top level straight away but I think he can get back to that top level again, I'm convinced."

Negredo didn't quite repay the compliment when he was later asked about Neville's future at the club.

"That's not up to me," he said.

World Cup disappointment - and he's yet to feature for Spain since IN the February of 2014, Alvaro Negredo, on the back of an impressive first half of the season for City, spoke of his desire to be Spain's first choice striker for the World Cup in 2014.

A matter of months later and he wasn't even named in the squad.

"It's the Spain squad noone watching the Premier League back in January would have thought possible," wrote one national report following Vicente del Bosque's decision to drop both Jesus Navas and Negredo.

Instead of taking Boro's new striker, del Bosque preferred Diego Costa who, if you recall, had hobbled out of that season's Champions League final with injury.

The squad selection backfired on him, for Spain were dumped out with just three points from their three games.

Negredo has 10 goals in 21 appearances for Spain. His last came against Georgia back in October of 2013.

You bet it's a good move FOLLOWING the completion of a move to Boro on a season loan from Valencia, BoyleSports has priced up some specials on Alvaro Negredo.

The former Manchester City player is 2/1 to score at the Riverside Stadium against his old club in the Premier League, while he is 3/1 to score against them at the Etihad Stadium.

It's 11/10 that he scores at home to Sunderland with 15/8 the price on offer that he scores a Premier League goal away to the Black Cats at the Stadium of Light.

The Spaniard is 13/8 to be Boro's top goalscorer this coming season, and it's 66/1 that he can win the 2016/17 Premier League top goalscorer crown.

You can get 6/5 on Negredo netting 10 or more Premier League goals this season.

Liam Glynn, BoyleSports' spokesperson said: "Negredo is an excellent loan signing to newly promoted Middlesbrough and may well be a vital cog in The Boro staying up in the Premier League come the end of the season."

He added: "Punters are already liking the 3/1 about Negredo scoring a goal at the Etihad Stadium against his former English club, Manchester City, whilst the current 13/8 about the Spaniard being Middlesbrough's top goalscorer this season, is also catching their eyes."

Alvaro Negredo Specials To score in Premier League against Manchester City: To score at home v City - 2/1; To score away v City - 3/1. To score in Premier League against Sunderland: To score at home v Sunderland - 11/10: To score away v Sunderland - 15/8. To be top Boro scorer - 13/8 To be top Premier League scorer - 66/1. How many Premier League goals will Negredo score? 10 Or more - 6/5.

CAPTION(S):

| Alvaro Negredo was a formidable striker for Manchester City - now Boro fans will be expecring for of the same in red and white this term
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUSP
Date:Jul 21, 2016
Words:1457
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