Despite City being manager-less, the peerless work of chief executives Txiki Bergistain and Ferran Soriano have ensured City have not left their summer signings til the last few weeks; unlike Brian Marwood during the infamous 2012 summer debacle. Yet it is clear that Navas is Manuel Pellegrini’s signing – a genuine winger – something City have been crying out all year long. It is evident that Pellegrini wishes to completely refurbish our playing style to include wide players who can stretch the opposition, so who better than Jesus Navas?
Make no mistake, Jesus Navas is as good as it gets when it comes to right-footed, right-wingers who perform the role of a classic wide player. His lightning paced bursts down the right hand-side of the pitch are unmatched in Europe, as well as his ability to whip a ball in; in fact Navas has made the most accurate crosses in the whole of La Liga this season, finding a team-mate with 51 crosses. It’s no surprise to learn that Jesus has, statistically, been the best crosser in Spain in 5 of the last 6 seasons. Those statistics bode well to City fans considering there are probably about 2 players in the City squad who can actually cross a ball.
Jesus Navas would add a completely different dimension to City’s game. We saw how often City failed to break down resolute defences this season because of a lack of width. Navas enjoys taking on defenders, attacking them directly by utilising his blistering pace and loves hugging the touchline. Despite his exceptional, traditional wing play, Navas can provide a different threat: chances. Navas has developed his game to extraordinary level when it comes to cutting inside and creating chances. In fact, Navas created more chances (71) from open play in La Liga this season than anyone else, a phenomenal feat when you consider players like Ozil, Xavi and Iniesta ply their trade there.
Manchester City’s ambitions to switch to a 4-3-3 are no secret as City’s executives have outlined plans to completely reform the playing style from the academy right up to the first-team. In essence there is no better player to help implement wide players into the first than Jesus Navas – he is the epitome of a right-winger. City have often suffered this season from an abundance of play-makers behind a striker, opting to cut in and try a score the ‘perfect’ goal. Navas would completely balance the team by offering a different threat out wide. The prospect of Navas and Zabaleta doubling up down the right side of the pitch is salivating to say the least.
However, despite his undoubted ability, other problems arise. Jesus Navas was supposed to join Chelsea back in 2006, but refused to leave since he was suffering from chronic homesickness. Born in a town near Seville, Navas simply isn’t comfortable going anywhere beyond the Andalusian City. This even includes having trouble meeting up at national training camps that are further than one hour away from home. Sadly he hasn’t received the necessary support from colleagues during his tenure at Seville with team-mates, Andrea Palop and Enzo Maresca, suggesting he should “man up”. Navas has still made remarkable progression in football despite bearing a horrible condition that many are sadly dismissive of. Fortunately his days of panic attacks and rejecting international call-ups are long gone after years of treatment in the United States and City’s growing Spanish-speaking contingent should no doubt help Jesus settle in.
It is now the perfect time for Jesus Navas to leave Sevilla for pastures new, Navas isn’t getting any younger and will be 28 in November at the peak of his powers. Navas’ poor goal-scoring record should not really bother Pellegrini considering his ability to feed strikers is absolutely exceptional – 48 assists in his last 4 seasons is testament to this. Sevilla’s Alvaro Negredo has benefited hugely from his crossing, a player in the same mould as Edinson Cavani; should City be looking at the Napoli marksman.
Ultimately, Navas was the obvious first signing under Pellegrini, a player able to provide the platform and foundations for Manuel to work from to build his team. Pace, width and tons of assists is what you can learn to expect from Jesus when he lines up for City in August and Blues will sleep well knowing £20m was spent sensibly this summer on a brilliant and dependable winger.
written by Anis Bazza