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The Spain international striker had a torrid second half of 2013-14 but showed a glimpse of his quality with an excellent assist for Scott Sinclair before being injured

Alvaro Negredo's first season as a Manchester City player started brilliantly but slowly faded away, with Edin Dzeko the main main up front by the end of their Premier League-winning campaign.

The Spaniard's last competitive goal came on January 21 and, with Manuel Pellegrini's summer spending likely to continue, he would have been looking to a pre-season game against Hearts as a chance to push back into the reckoning for a first-team place. Goal evaluates his efforts...

PERFORMANCE AGAINST HEARTS

It was a strange evening for Negredo, though not an unpromising one. Selected to start in City's second Scottish game of the summer - having been a half-time substitute in their 2-0 defeat by Dundee - his early impact was minimal to say the least, the hosts marking him smartly out of the game.

However, despite having been forced into anonymity for the first 25 minutes, the Spain international was able to capitalise when the defensive harrying faded for a crucial moment. Showing the ability on the ball that made him such a useful strike partner in the early stages of 2013-14, Negredo took advantage of some extra space to play in an excellent ball for Scott Sinclair to score.

Though he could not get on the scoresheet himself, such an assist should be a welcome boost to Negredo's confidence. Less helpful, though, was the injury that he picked up just at the end of the first half. Though he was able to walk off the pitch himself to be substituted at the break, the last thing the striker needs is a disruption to his pre-season work and City will be hoping that it is not too serious a niggle.

HE'D BE PERFECT FOR...

With 23 goals in all competitions until his drought started in late January, Negredo was perfect for City. Partnering to excellent effect with Sergio Aguero, the 28-year-old used his imposing physical presence to leave Premier League defenders running scared.

If Negredo can recapture that kind of form, then there would surely continue to be a place for him at the heart of Pellegrini’s plans – especially considering that, of City’s other strikers, Aguero has had consistent injury problems in 2014 and neither Stevan Jovetic nor John Guidetti have been able to make an impact on the first team.

Were he to be jettisoned, he should be the sort of centre forward in whom Tottenham would be interested, able to hold up the ball and lead the line ahead of their various attacking-midfield talents in place of the disappointing Roberto Soldado.

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?

Negredo’s future has been the subject of some debate thanks to his disastrous second half of 2013-14 and there has been interest from Atletico Madrid in a £25 million move for the striker to succeed Chelsea-bound Diego Costa.

However, the Spanish champions’ acquisition of Mario Mandzukic from Bayern Munich makes such a deal less of a priority for Diego Simeone’s side and Negredo himself is keen to stay exactly where he is – which remains the most likely outcome for a player who has only been at the Etihad Stadium for one year.

"I don't want to leave City," he told the club's official website on Tuesday.

"I'm very happy and very settled here. I had a difficult end to the season and that's why there has been a lot of talking but I've been very happy here from the first day I arrived."



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