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Alvaro Negredo heads to the Middle East

Saturday 22nd September 2018

We all know some players decide in to move to a foreign country in their later years. Alvaro Negredo becomes the latest example. The Spanish forward completed a free transfer from Turkish side Besiktas to Al-Nasr in the United Arab Emirates. So let's take a closer look at why the former Manchester City and Middlesbrough man made the move.

At 33, the centre-forward donned out for numerous clubs over an excellent career. Starting out at Rayo Vallecano, before playing with Almeria and Real Madrid. He also made a mark at Sevilla where he scored 70 times in 139 La Liga matches. A move to Manchester City was complete in 2013 but his goal scoring tally wasn't to the levels like they were at Sevilla. He returned to Spain eventually signing with Valencia. Over two seasons he bagged just 10 goals. This was before signing for Middlesbrough on a season-long loan. Over that course, he struck nine times. Not bad but nothing spectacular.

After the return to Spain, it was clear the Madrid-born forward wasn't in any plans to feature. This led to his move away. Besiktas was his next club. Just over a season was spent with Kara Kartallar. Last campaign saw him net just seven times. While he appeared four times during the Super Lig this season he did score twice. 

Negredo signs with Al-Nasr on a two-year deal. He will be reportedly earning around seven million Euros throughout the duration of his contract. But his next test will be an interesting one. Does he know what he's let himself in for?

Al-Nasr finished fourth in the UAE Arabian Gulf League last season. The Blue or the Blue Wave as they are also known, have won the title on three occasions. The last being over 30 years ago. Other foreign players already at the club include Brazilians Marcelo Cirino, Samuel Rosa and Iury. The most notable face would be Yohan Cabaye. The Frenchman joined earlier this year and still dons his number seven jersey. The former Crystal Palace midfielder even has one goal from the first two fixtures.

The side is managed by former Serbian midfielder Ivan Jovanovic. His playing career was mostly spent with former Yugoslavian side Rad Beograd and Greek outfit Iraklis Thessaloniki. Jovanovic was actually sacked by Al-Nasr in 2016 but reappointed earlier this year. So far, the season hasn't started so well. A 1-0 defeat at home to Ajman and a 6-3 loss to Al Sharjah is not a good sign. But bringing in Alvaro Negredo could be the perfect formula.

It is a contrast to see from the Spaniard's point of view. A Premier League title winner to making a mark in Asia may not be what he had in his career plans but it could be an ideal move. It could be an excuse to boost his goal tally. Something not quite as prolific in recent years. It is an opportunity to take advantage of but that's easier said than done.

The United Arab Emirates Pro League is not one to be underestimated. Just because not many people outside the country aren't aware of what goes on, it is a competitive league. Although Al-Ain is the most successful club with 13 titles there have been three different champions over just as many seasons. Alvaro Negredo may find this move ideal to Al-Nasr but it won't just be a walk in the park.

Jamie Kynaston

For my sins, I'm a season ticket holder at Stoke City, I have been proud to watch them for over 20 years. I follow most of the UK leagues and the major European ones too, and I've been told that I talk way too much about football.

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