Meet the Beast of Vallecas, Alvaro Negredo, who trumps the stereotype of the dainty Spanish footballer and whose aim is to terrorise Premier League defences in the Manchester City attack next season. Manuel Pellegrini's new £20.6m striker can play a bit, too. In Wednesday's 1-0 Asia Trophy semi-final win over South China, Negredo lit up the Hong Kong Stadium with one telling flash of brilliance during a 29-minute cameo. Dropping off the front trident of the City manager's 4-3-3 formation, Negredo struck a sweet ball with the outside of his left boot into Edin Dzeko for a chance the Bosnian should have finished.
A member of a four-man strikeforce – Sergio Agüero and the £22m signing Stevan Jovetic along with Dzeko are the others – who Pellegrini claims are the strongest in English football, Negredo says: "I knew of [City's] interest this summer, it came through my agent and was a compliment. I was very happy and I wanted to join. It's a really big club, there is an opportunity to challenge for titles every single year and now I get to play in the Champions League. [Also] I wanted to get experience in the Premier League that I love."
Negredo was a member of Spain's triumphant Euro 2012 squad and scored 70 goals in 139 appearances for Sevilla after joining them in 2009. Hailing from the Madrid suburb of Vallecas, Negredo failed to establish himself at Real Madrid before moving to Almería in 2007, where his 32 strikes in 70 games attracted Sevilla.
Of Pellegrini's claim that he has the best forwards, Negredo says: "It's an honour to be part of the [City] squad and when you have a lot of competitiveness it makes everyone be on the top of their form. This competitiveness between all of the guys – Dzeko, Agüero, Jovetic – will help the club succeed."
At 27, City have bought a player in his prime. "Yes, definitely. Now I am at the peak of my form," he says. "Also this is another league and style of football and I am very confident I will succeed here – not just on an individual level but also in the group."
Negredo joins David Silva, City's chief lock-picker, whose eye for the hidden angle embodies the very best of Spanish footballers. Yet despite a nickname that suggests a more primal talent, Negredo is confident he will blend technique with a more physical approach that could add an extra dimension to City.
"It makes me laugh when they called me the Beast," he says. "But, yes, I think I am a strong player who can fight and be physical. I have some qualities that will suit the Premier League – my style suits the game in England, but I also like to believe that I have good technical ability as well. It was my team-mates who first started calling me the Beast. It soon became so popular that the media in Spain also started to use the nickname.
"I can be both physical and technical. There are some matches where the physical approach is very important and other games where you can show off your skill."
With Jesús Navas also signing from Sevilla for £15m to make it a Spanish quartet at the club – Javi García is the fourth – plus the director of football, Txiki Begiristain, and the chief executive, Ferran Soriano, being countrymen of Negredo, the Blues are, the striker contests, the star overseas attraction for fans in his homeland. "City are the No1 Premier League club because of all the connections. I hope this season we will play attractive football in the Spanish style," he says.
Negredo is an admirer of his new manager, having played against his teams when the Chilean worked in La Liga. "Mr Pellegrini is known for the attractive style of his football. That is why he had a long and successful career in Spain because his teams played excellent football," he says. "It didn't matter whether he was at Villarreal, Real Madrid or Málaga, his teams always played attacking football and I am sure that is why Manchester City wanted him. His teams are always dynamic, but I am sure that it will be even better at City because of the quality of players he now has to work with. The squad is so talented here that there is only one option: to attack."His friendship with Navas, in particular, will help Negredo, who is determined to learn English, to adapt quickly. "I am very close to Jesús. We have always got on very well and its also good that our families are close. Our kids have always gone to school together. I am happy that we can continue our friendship in Manchester because I am sure it will help us to settle in quickly."
When that occurs City fans could be treated to a player who hopes to bring the beast – and the beauty – to their team.
Alvaro Negredo was speaking at the Premier League Community Festival during the Barclays Asia Trophy, where he helped Manchester City coaches teach young footballers in Hong Kong.