Manchester City Becomes More Dynamic With Jesus Navas

navas blogPhoto by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Manchester City is set to sign Spanish international Jesús Navas for £17M (with the potential for additions to the original fee), with Sevilla announcing that the right winger has agreed the move on their official website.

Manchester City averaged 36% of the club’s possession on the right side of the field last season, the 6th lowest percentage in the Premier League, so it’s an area that the club will be aiming to improve this summer. Samir Nasri (16 starts), David Silva (14 starts) and James Milner (13 starts) all saw time on the right hand side of midfield for Manchester City last season, so Navas, exclusively a right winger, will solidify a position that Roberto Mancini rotated over the course of the 2012/13 season. It would then allow David Silva to move to his more natural role on the left wing – with the move potentially signalling the end of Nasri’s time with the club.

While Navas has the ability to contribute on the defensive side, leading Sevilla’s attacking players with 1.4 tackles per game as well as adding the occasional interception (0.4 per game) and clearance (0.3 per game), his greatest value is going forward. He will bring a lot of pace to the club, as the 5 ft 7 in winger has a recorded average speed of 20.72 mph. It’s therefore not surprising that he uses this pace effectively when running at opponents:

navas dribble
For a full breakdown of this week’s matches, check out https://www.bloombergsports.com/football/.

Navas led Sevilla with 1.7 successful dribbles per game last season, tied with Cristiano Ronaldo for 7th in La Liga – although it’s worth noting that Navas’ total of 62 dribbles surpassed Ronaldo’s 57. He also had more successful dribbles over the course of the season than any Manchester City player, with only Sergio Agüero topping his per game mark (1.9).

As a winger, Navas’ main role is to create chances, and he has excelled with this. The 27-year-old’s assist total has varied over the last four years, which can be expected given that he relies on others to convert a chance that he has created. However, Navas has managed to surpass two key passes per game for the last three seasons, including his injury shortened 2010/11 season (where he made just 15 appearances for the club):

Navas passing

Navas’ 2.1 key passes per match tied for 9th in La Liga last season, with Mallorca’s Giovani dos Santos and only one Manchester City player surpassing this total (David Silva with 3.3). The winger has seen a drop in both key passes and assists between the last two seasons, however this is likely linked to the reduced success of his crossing:

navas crossing
For a full breakdown of this week’s matches, check out https://www.bloombergsports.com/football/.

It’s worth noting that Navas’ 1.4 successful crosses per match would have tied with David Silva for the Manchester City team lead as well as being tied for 12th in La Liga last season. Nonetheless, this is still his lowest total per game over the last four seasons and it is linked to accuracy. In 2011/12, Navas was the only player in the league with more than 2.0 successful crosses per game, however his cross completion percentage of 28.4% appears to be an outlier when compared to the other three seasons.

Navas is more of a goal creator than goal scorer. His 80 shots (only 29 on target) without scoring over the 2012/13 season were more than any other goalless player in Europe’s top five leagues, with Swansea’s Ki Sung-Yueng leading the Premier League with 1.3 shots per game without scoring a goal. Nonetheless, he has proved that he can contribute with the occasional goal over the course of his career:

navas scoring

Surpassing his 2011/12 goal total should be the aim. Nonetheless, Navas on current form will improve the Manchester City side, however if the 27-year-old can also add goals to his game, he will become one of the more dynamic attacking threats in the Premier League.

The major issue with Navas is off the field rather than on it. He has suffered from chronic homesickness in the past, with the 27-year-old spending his entire career at so far at Sevilla, a club situated just 20 miles away from his hometown Los Palacios y Villafranca. The problem had forced the winger to temporarily retire from international football as well as reject a move to Chelsea in 2006, citing a fear of living abroad. Furthermore, homesickness could well have played a part in his club form, with the winger averaging 1.5 shots per away match compared to 2.9 shot attempts per home match. Furthermore, in the 2011-2012 season, nine of Navas’ 12 assists came in his club’s home matches. While extensive counselling appears to have alleviated the problem, with the winger agreeing to a move to the Premier League, it could still be something that arises in the future.

Jesús Navas’ issue with homesickness makes the signing a risk, however if this problem is really in the past then he will make Manchester City a better team. He will solidify the right hand side of what is likely to become Manuel Pellegrini’s team, an area that Roberto Mancini rotated last season. With Navas on the right and David Silva on the left wing, City project to have a creative threat from both flanks – giving the starting XI a natural balance in the midfield.

For a full breakdown of this week’s matches, check out https://www.bloombergsports.com/football/.
For more quick insights, follow us on Twitter @BSportsfootball

 
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