Last summer, two world-class forwards arrived in Premier League following an exodus of Spanish players from debt-ridden La Liga clubs.
Alvaro Negredo and Roberto Soldado arrived at Manchester City and Tottenham respectively with a clear objective: to supply their teams with plentiful of goals, something both proved to be excellent at for years in the La Liga.
Half way through the season though, one has provided exactly what was expected of him, if not more, while the other has been struggling to find his form. These two Spanish internationals have found completely altering fortunes in their attempts to make an impact the Premier League.
Even with stern competition in his position at the Etihad, Alvaro Negredo quickly established himself at City and since the second game of the season he’s regularly found himself in Pellegrini’s starting line-up. Apart from an impressive 15 goals in 28 appearances in all competitions, Negredo has an impressive tally of six assists, more than the likes of Samir Nasri and Juan Mata.
Apart from the tremendous technical ability that is a standard among Spanish players today, his physical presence and ability in the air have been the key attributes that have allowed him to make such an impact in the Premier League. Add to that intelligent positioning and cool finishing, and you have a forward ready to conquer the Barclays Premier League. Considering the excessive amounts clubs have recently paid for forwards, at £16.4 million you have to applaud Manuel Pellegrini for a fine piece of business.
While Soldado's signing has been far from disastrous as many see it, he himself as well as Spurs fans will be frustrated until he will regularly find the net as was expected of him. 5 goals scored in just three Europa League matches is definitely impressive, but it’s important to be aware of the quality of the teams Spurs have faced so far in the competition. Sheriff Tiraspol of Moldova and Tromso of Norway are hardly any competition for any Premier League club, yet alone Spurs, while Anzhi aren't the team they were a year back.
Criticism from the media and Spurs supporters alike though has been mainly aimed at his failure to consistently score in the Premier League. Five goals scored in a total of eighteen league appearances is definitely short of expectations, but to worsen things only one of those goals is from open play, the rest being from penalties.
Though of late he’s impressed with some clever link-up play and intelligent passing, his lack of form in front of goal is still worrying Spurs supporters as their team has been lacking the cutting edge that Gareth Bale offered before he left for Real Madrid. Andre Villas-Boas may have kept faith in his £26 million signing up until his last days as manager of Tottenham, but Tim Sherwood might be more open to giving others a chance where Soldado has so far been disappointing.
Questions arise over what’s stopping Soldado from replicating his goal scoring form that made him one of the most feared forwards in Europe while Negredo flourishes at City. Some say its Negredo world-class support at City that allows him to excel: others claim it’s his strength that has allowed him to adapt to the English game so well. No definite answer can be found at this moment, though one thing is certain: Premier League clubs will continue to use the La Liga as a source to strengthen their squads in the near future.
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