Jesus Navas

Just exactly who is Jesus Navas, what type of player is he and what can he bring to this Man City team?

The short of the story is this: Man City had apparently agreed personal terms days ago with the diminutive winger. In the last 24 hours it seems that a fee of €20m with the possibility of the usual add-on's tipping the eventual layout to over 25m. *Jesus Navas has now been announced as a Man City player on Sevilla's club website. A 4 year deal.


Who Is Jesus Navas?

Age 27 (21/11/85) Navas will be 28 this coming season, so he is no raw youngster anymore.

Birthplace Los Palacios y Villafranca

Clubs Sevilla

Appearances 275 league games for Sevilla and 22 caps for Spain.

Navas as a person is reported to be, or at least once was, notoriously shy. The player struggled mightily in the early part of his career with anxiety and homesickness issues, and really it is only in the last 3 years or so that his mental state has been robust enough to feature for the national side in tournament games. Navas deserves a huge amount of credit for openly declaring that he was suffering anxiety problems, the next step was to seek help to overcome the anxiety and homesickness which it seems he has now fully done.

His improving health is most definitely Spain's gain.

It remains to be seen just how Navas the man will cope with what is a very different environment in Manchester. For the whole of his playing career he has featured for his hometown club, he has lived amongst the familiar in terms of his surroundings, culture, and most importantly, his family and friends.

We can only assume Man City as a club have undertaken extensive research into the players character and the feasability of signing a player with homesickness issues. All possible arrangements will be made to ensure that Navas is made to feel especially comfortable in what be a traumatic next few months in his new, very alien, surroundings.

Here's to hoping!

Playing Style

Navas is an out and out winger, he won't score much for whichever team he plays in and he won't help out much in defence either. What Navas can and will do is provide much needed pace and directness into a team who struggled mightily last term for width and variety in their forward play.

Navas is exceptionally quick, with good feet and can beat a man easily and he formed part of an exciting attacking spearhead at Sevilla. Navas can, and does, drift inside at times in search of the ball, and he does also drop deep. Navas is not only a speedster either, he can play neat one touch football in close quarters with the best of them. A better quality of team-mate at man City may well remove the necessity to drop deep or centrally in search of the ball.

Hell, why write words when we can watch video? You know those video highlight packages that make every player good? This isn't one of them.

Instead it is a 3 1/2 minute video of a players performance in a single game.

In this video we see Navas playing away at Real Madrid. (A while ago, but it's the best i could do)


I think we see fleeting glimpses of what Navas can do and what his game is about. He is quick, he can beat a man and cross the ball and he does drift in search of the ball. He is also a tiny human being, tiny in height and build.

History

I think we kind of know what to expect from Navas in terms of style of play, but what can his statistical history tell us about what type of player he is and what he can and can't do. Let's look at his career numbers in a few important categories.

Shots and Shots On Target Per 90 minutes

Navas_medium

This is Navas' 7 full career years at Sevilla. There would be little point in listing his basic numbers for they vary wildly from season to season due to lack of game time or injury etc.

Navas' Total Shots per 90 numbers are trending nicely with year on year improvement save his injury destroyed 2010/11 season. Navas' SoT per 90 vary slightly from year to year, although 2011/12 was his best season to date with 0.92 SoT per 90. This season Navas' SoT per 90 number declined to a point which may well be his career average.

This is not a player who will overwhelm you with his goalscoring or shooting ability which is proved by his career ~35% shooting accuracy (SoT/Total Shots). Navas is not a shooter, he isn't Di Maria. Navas is a creator.

Creativity And Giveaways Per 90

I have used key passes as a proxy for creativity. I have also included giveaways (dispossessions + Turnovers)

Navas_2_medium

We only have 4 years worth of data to work with here and this doesn't tell us too much. Navas doesn't give the ball away too much possibly due to operating on the wing and his key pass numbers are pretty decent.

What we really need to do is give Navas' numbers some context.


Key Passes Giveaways
Silva 3.73 3.44
Lennon 2.14 2.17
Payet 2.55 3.98
Navas 2.14 2.92
Robben 2.66 3.67
Gotze 2.81 4.38

This is context, but highly flawed context. I included a scattergun of players who play in a variety of positions with differing strengths of team-mates and on teams across several leagues. It is far from perfect but it gives us some rough context.

Silva was included in this chart as he is not only a City player but a creator of the highest order. Nobody is near Silva's numbers in terms of key passes per 90. We also see that Silva, along with Gotze, suffer a high per 90 giveaway number. This may be down to, in part at least, playing centrally where opposition bodies are more numerous, thus giveaways more likely.

Navas' creation is way below Payet's (should be a City target) and Robben's. The best statistical comparison for Navas is Aaron Lennon. The key passes per 90 are identical but Lennon shows far more care not to give the ball away. Aaron Lennon feels like a good comparison on many levels, some of them lazy.

Lennon is a lightning quick winger who offers pace and directness but has little defensive value. Lennon is a space creator who commands respect from the full back and this creates space for team-mates. These are traits Man City have been sorely missing in recent times. They are traits Navas possesses.

Final Thoughts

Identifying Jesus Navas as a potential signing for Man City was surely a very simple task for Txiki Begiristain. City have a desperate team need for a highly technical wide player who can act as a speedster and a creator. Jesus Navas fits the bill perfectly.

I imagine the negotiations with Sevilla were non too difficult considering their financial position, convincing the player in question may well more difficult. For this is a player with previous issues who may well have needed to hear promises and sunny tales about life at a club in Rainy Manchester. Txiki, Soriano and by a player like Silva, one imagines, may have provided the soothing reassurances.

The transfer to Man City is one Navas may well have become increasingly excited about for it represents a chance to challenge himself as a person, improve as a player and compete for honours at a Champions League club. And my Lord doubling your wage packet will certainly help.

This feels like a very sensible signing for Man City. The fee isn't too prohibitive, the player is now in his peak years of performance and he fills a huge need for this Man City team who looked stale and spent at times this season. Quite where Navas fits into Begiristain's previously stated 4-3-3, or whatever Pellegrini's tactical setup will look like, remains to be seen.

A whisp of an Andulusian manchild who could have a big impact in Manchester.

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