Manchester City’s activity in the transfer window is always something exciting to behold, as it has been ever since their dramatic late signing of Robinho in the summer of 2008. With the window due to open on the 1st of July, two of City’s strongest links are with Jesus Navas (City have reportedly agreed a fee for Navas) and Isco.
Although the window opens officially on that date, clubs may announce signings earlier, and it will certainly be interesting to see if anything is announced with regards to the two Spaniards in the coming weeks.
It appears that Navas is one of ManchesterCity’s top transfer targets, and the winger, who plays for Sevilla, has revealed his own interest in a move to the Premier league. Pellegrini, the new and incoming City manager, is very familiar with Spanish football and La Liga, and it has been suggested that it his admiration for the wide man that has prompted the club’s interest in Navas.
Navas has said himself:
[quote]I like ManchesterCity a lot and it has great players. ManchesterCity has done all it can to bring me in and I have to be grateful for that. I want to go on and win trophies. I’m now open to anything. I want to win more and reach my goals.[/quote]
Well according to Navas, City have put a lot of effort into acquiring his services and so don’t be surprised if they get their man should this interest persist. After all, they have attracted bigger names in the past, before they ever managed to win the Premier League.
Even today, reports are coming out that he has signed for City. Cadena Ser, the biggest Spanish radio network, has reported that he has signed, and Graham Hunter is reporting it as a fully agreed deal with City spending 23 million Euros with another 4 million depending on variables.
So what would Navas bring to the table should this signing go through? As can be seen above, he is an attacking midfielder who plays more or less solidly from the right-hand side. Moreover, he likes to exploit his significant pace and is very much a classic winger in the sense that he tends to bring width to the team.
Regardless of how good you believe he is this is certainly something that City need, and in the modern game where you often get inverted wingers – individuals who like to cut in onto their stronger foot – a classically wide player would certainly give City another option. A plan B if you will, that is if Navas were not to be plan A. The current attacking midfielders at City are primarily Nasri, Silva and Milner, with Tevez and Aguero often dropping into that role too, and Navas is not really too similar any of these players. (There is also Scott Sinclair, but he has barely featured and is likely to leave so I have not included him.)
It is all well and good that he is arguably something City need, but there are still questions marks over whether he is good enough to succeed. His attacking stats, as can be seen above, are not particularly impressive. The most worrying of those is that he has failed to score in 37 appearances. Does an out-and-out winger really need to score though? Well, to be perfectly honest, yes. Not many necessarily but you would usually expect an attacking midfielder in any capacity to add to the team’s goal tally in some manner through the course of a season.
What makes his zero goals stat even more worrying is how often he has been shooting. He has had an average of 2.2 shots per match in La Liga. This equates to 80 shots this season without scoring, which is 27 more attempts than any other goalless player in the top 5 leagues in Europe. You could excuse this perhaps if he had a notable amount of assists, but 6 assists over 37 games is poor too, especially since his primary job is to provide assists. That said, the natural winger role that he has opens up space in attack and helps bring other players into the game, and so he contributes to the team in ways beyond simply being directly involved in goals.
As far as I am concerned, I think have City have identified the right kind of player, but not necessarily the right player in that category. To be fair he is a dying breed of midfielder, and it may be City’s plan to use him as more of a squad player, especially if Isco were to come in with him. He was tipped to be a future star in his youth, and I might add that I don’t think his stats do him justice.
Similar to Navas, Isco has suggested that a transfer to City is possible, and has also said that he would like to work with Pellegrini again. It is likely that he will be moving to a new club in the summer and so with Pellegrini moving to Manchester and City able to afford him, it seems to be his probable destination.
With regards to Pellegrini, Isco was quoted as saying:
[quote]He’s been my footballing father and I know that he likes me. Of course I’d like to continue with him.[/quote]
Isco would not bring anything completely new to the team, since as a central / left sided attacking midfielder (more often left this season) he is a similar kind of player to Nasri and Silva. Instead, his addition would be regarded as an addition of quality. At the age of 21 he is heavily tipped to be a star for the Spanish national side (because Spain don’t have enough of those) and his current release clause which stands at £30 million attests to that.
He has very much been Malaga’s key player this season, and his tally of nine goals in the league has seen him finish as top goal scorer in the squad. As impressive as that is, he could have provided more assists because 1 is really not good enough for an attacking play-maker.
However, I always try to find an explanation when an individual’s statistic is not as good as expected. Sometimes this isn’t possible, but what I would say for Isco in his defence (albeit a weak defence) is that as the ‘star player’ for Malaga, as it were, it has been suggested that he often takes it upon himself to take the game by the scruff of the neck which leads him to dribble and go for goal more often than he should. He would no longer be a ‘big fish’ at City though, and he would be surrounded by other quality individuals who would help to bring the best out of him; it may be a cliché to say that, but that’s really the way it is.
No doubt Isco would be a huge signing for Manchester City if it comes to be, and his arrival would give them one of the most fluid and exciting attacks in Europe.
[box_light]Statistics for this article were taken from www.whoscored.com[/box_light]