You might not have noticed, what with Chelsea and Manchester United squabbling over Wayne Rooney and Arsenal fluttering their eyelashes at strikers from Real Madrid, Liverpool and beyond, but Manchester City have spent a shed load of cash this summer, all strangely under the radar.
Yet for the approximate £90m that the blue half of Manchester have spent, one signing in particular could be the key transfer – Sevilla’s Alvaro Negredo, who joined yesterday from the Andalusians for £20m.
Fernandinho, Jesus Navas and (in all probability) Stevan Jovetic, brought in from Shakhtar Donetsk, Sevilla and Fiorentina respectively, will add to City’s outrageously talented squad, but it is Negredo who could make the difference in the title race come next May.
Strangely for a team with so much attacking talent, City struggled for goals last year. Roberto Mancini’s side scored just 66 times, only the fifth best in the division as the Italian struggled to mount a defence of the crown.
New boss Manuel Pellegrini has promised attacking football and with his four signings all playing at the top end of the pitch, it is inconceivable that City will fail to be a more potent attacking force next term – and Negredo can come into his own.
Put simply, Negredo guarantees goals. The 27 year-old has found the net wherever he has been and boasts a one-goal-in-two-games record, hitting 32 goals in 73 games for Almeria and a seriously impressive 85 goals in 185 games for Sevilla.
Therefore, he deserves his chance at a club that is going to compete for major honours and the 3/4 he scores more than 16.5 in the Premier League is the way to go, rather than the 19/20 he scores 16 or fewer.
It is not unknown for foreign players to storm the Premier League in their debut season: Fernando Torres scored 24 times (a record), while Ruud van Nistlerooy and Sergio Aguero both hit 23 goals.
Even Christian Benteke hit 19 last season and there is no reason why Negredo can’t get at least 17 goals in this new-look, attack-minded Pellegrini outfit – his record certainly suggests it is likely.
As such, the 3/4 he nets over 16.5 goals is the bet.