Despite Spain’s mesmerizing 4-0 performance in the Euro 2012 final against Italy, that tournament showed that there could perhaps be a chink in the armour for La Roja – that being their lack of consistent threat in the final third.
This weakness was further exacerbated in last year’s Confederations Cup final when a toothless Spain were dismantled by Brazil, the tiki-taka style falling short in the end.
Spain’s midfield has been heralded worldwide and rightly so but their attacking fortitude has been on a consistent decline since the 2010 World Cup and the striker position has been up for grabs ever since. The days of David Villa and Fernando Torres spearheading the Spain attack are long gone.
Largely, Spain’s barren forward line has been shielded by their consistent success in the last few international tournaments but if there is any hope of succeeding in this World Cup, they may need to alter their reliance on the false nine and opt for a more direct threat when necessary. The temporary fix to their striker conundrum will only last so long.
Alvaro Negredo however could be the answer to Spain’s problems. Almost perfectly suited for England, he took to the Premier League like a fish to water upon his arrival at Manchester City. Negredo’s brute force combined with his hold-up play and technical skills made him a nightmare for Premier League defenders. He netted 26 goals and six assists in all competitions for City this year despite a midseason injury and splitting time up top with Bosnian Edin Dzeko.
It’s his combination of size and skill that makes him a must for the squad to go to Brazil. Other than Fernando Llorente, none of the strikers Spain possess boast his abilities. Vicente Del Bosque stays loyal to his players, however, so Torres may already occupy one of the coveted spots and after Diego Costa’s remarkable season it would be a shock if he wasn’t on a plane to Brazil, though his injury fears could place a smidgen of doubt in Del Bosque’s mind.
That means it could come down to a battle between Llorente and Negredo for the final striker place and though Llorente has done well in Serie A, Negredo offers more overall.
The former Sevilla man possesses a cannon of a left foot and a surprising eye for a pass, his stunning outside of the foot assist from the wing to James Milner away to Fulham a clear example of his all round game.
It’s anyone’s bet who will make Spain’s final 23 but Negredo could be the spark that’s needed and, perhaps more importantly, offers something that Spain’s opponents haven’t seen before.