Despite having no manager in place, Manchester City have made their first signing of the summer. Spanish international winger Jesus Navas will don the sky blue strip next season, after a reported transfer fee of £17m was agreed between the Mancunians and the Andalusians. You can only speculate that the man tipped to take the hot-seat, Manuel Pellegrini, has had some influence on the deal.
Having been at Sevilla for the entirety of his footballing life, Navas may not be as box office a name as some of the Spaniard’s who ply their trade at Barcelona and Real Madrid. But that doesn’t mean Manchester City fans should be any less excited about his arrival. For Navas is one exhilarating player.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at what the Spanish winger will bring to Pellegrini’s side.
Primarily, he will give them pace, trickery and a direct threat. And in doing so, he will give City an attacking dimension that they were in short supply of last year.
If there was standout deficiency in the teams attacking play under Mancini, then it was lack of width. Mancini usually operated with the likes of Samir Nasri and David Silva in wide areas, who are not wingers by right. They are more suited to attacking central midfielder roles, but were tasked with cutting in and finding pockets of space in the inside channels.
Whilst initially effective (especially in the early days of the 2011/12 season) teams soon became wise to it, packing the middle of the pitch and making things congested. As such, City’s more creative players had limited space to work within and with Mancini reluctant to use wide men like Scott Sinclair and Adam Johnson during his tenure, City toiled frequently against a compact defense.
Genuine width is the best way to break through tight knit opposition and this is exactly what Navas will give them.
In his time at Sevilla, he operated almost exclusively on the right-hand side as what you might call a “proper” winger. His style is a bit of a throw-back, as he hugs the touch line and looks to attack full-backs on the outside, different to the wingers we see cutting inside and shooting in the modern game.
But despite his old-school approach, his style will compliment City perfectly. Opposition players will have to shuffle across a few yards to compensate for the natural width he will offer and in doing so, will open up space for the likes of Silva, Nasri and Sergio Aguero to go about their business.