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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 October 2018

Alvaro Negredo set for immediate Al Nasr debut as Ivan Jovanovic insists new signing 'needs time to adapt'

Spanish striker, formerly of Manchester City and Sevilla, arrived on a two-year deal on Tuesday and is set to be called into action against AGL champions Al Ain on Friday

Alvaro Negredo, pictured during his first season with Manchester City in 2013, is set to make his Al Nasr debut on Friday - three days after joining the club. AFP
Alvaro Negredo, pictured during his first season with Manchester City in 2013, is set to make his Al Nasr debut on Friday - three days after joining the club. AFP

New signing Alvaro Negredo will need time to adapt to Al Nasr despite being in line for his debut only days after joining, according to manager Ivan Jovanovic.

The former Manchester City and Valencia striker, 33, was announced as the Dubai side’s latest recruit late on Tuesday having agreed to a two-year deal.

Negredo has already played five times this season for former club Besiktas, so has been made available for Friday’s Arabian Gulf League clash against Al Ain, the UAE champions.

Jovanovic had hoped to ease Negredo in gradually, but his team’s poor start to the season means the forward will be needed to play at least some part this week.

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Hoping to challenge for the title this campaign, Nasr have lost their opening two league matches. Last week, they were 5-0 down after 41 minutes against Sharjah before eventually losing 6-3.

Negredo arrives after his contract with Besiktas was terminated by mutual consent. He has played for a host of prominent European clubs, including City and Sevilla, while he spent a brief time at Real Madrid. He has been capped 21 times by Spain.

“He’s one player with great experience, having played at a high level,” Jovanovic said on Wednesday. “But, of course, he will need a little more time to adapt, to find out about the team and how they play, and even the weather conditions.

“It’s not easy for him. We need to give him time. I believe that he will help us in the future, but now with the situation we are in today, he has to play."

Negredo replaces in the squad Iury de Castilho, the Brazilian striker who joined Nasr from Ukrainian side Zorya Luhansk over the summer. He had scored two goals already this term.

“We had been thinking about Negredo all summer, but it was too difficult to sign him because Besiktas were playing European qualifiers,” Jovanovic said. “Now they are over it was easier to sign him.

“He will replace Iury, who is a young player on a long-term contract with the team, so he will remain [at the club].”

Looking ahead to the match against Al Ain, Jovanovic said: “Al Ain are the defending champions and a very good team. We come into this after two bad results and have the chance to change the impression of our team.”

Negredo joins at Nasr former Newcastle United and Crystal Palace midfielder Yohan Cabaye, and Brazilian duo Samuel Rosa and Marquinhos Gabriel. It represents on paper a strong foreign contingent for the three-time UAE champions, although Jovanovic insisted they need to be given time to settle.

“We’ve changed all the foreigners and that makes it hard to find balance in the team,” the Serbian said. “Sometimes you need time to work, but we haven’t had the chance yet. I believe we have a good team, and in the future they can represent Al Nasr in a good way.”