Jesus Navas: Why Sevilla Winger Will Be a Natural Fit at Manchester City

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterJune 4, 2013

DONETSK, UKRAINE - JUNE 27:  Jesus Navas of Spain in action during the UEFA EURO 2012 semi final match between Portugal and Spain at Donbass Arena on June 27, 2012 in Donetsk, Ukraine.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Manchester City have signed Jesus Navas from Sevilla on a four-year deal worth approximately £17 million, as confirmed by the BBC.

The deal represents the first incoming of what is likely to become Manuel Pellegrini's reign as City manager, and fans of the club could hardly have asked for a better deal to kick things off.

Roberto Mancini spent poorly last summer and recruited sub-par players to lead the title defence.

The likes of Javi Garcia, Jack Rodwell and Scott Sinclair were not of sufficient quality, and it was imperative they bought wisely this summer so they could throw their hat back into the title-chasing ring.

And in all honesty, this is an excellent start: You'd be hard-pushed to find a better tactical and technical fit than Navas and the Citizens.

City have endured the same problem for over two years—a chronic lack of true width.

In Mancini's 4-2-3-1 formation, three players who were at their most comfortable in the No. 10 position would be fielded in the advanced midfield three.

Rather than provide the required width, stretching the pitch and making room for teammates to play in, it led to the use of central wingers.

Central wingers can be useful, but using two is rarely effective: The likes of David Silva and Samir Nasri do not wish to stay wide for long periods and eventually become a detriment to City's shape.

In 2010, the problem was the opposite way around—the full-backs, mainly Aleksandar Kolarov and Pablo Zabaleta, were steaming down the wings too regularly and funneling their wingers inward.

It created severe blockage around the opponent's D, and teams could simply pack it with eight men and defend the onslaught.

In a massive over-correction, the full-backs now "underlap" inside rather than pound the touchline, and the central wingers drift inside too. Chaos.

The loss to Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup final was the final nail in the coffin, highlighting this problem and all of its subsequent deficiencies. Mancini had been struggling to maintain appropriate width for three seasons, and the chairman had had enough.

City's biggest need this summer was always going to be a player who could provide natural width, but those players are a rare breed in the modern game.

But in Jesus Navas they've found the perfect antidote to their issue, and provided he's use correctly, he can change the way City attack.

He's known as a real speedster is very difficult to catch, very happy taking his full-back down the line, beating him and putting across him.

Only David Silva (103) in the entire Manchester City squad created more chances last season than Jesus Navas (76). Impressive signing.

— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 3, 2013

Statistics suggest he doesn't create as many chances as one or two of his new teammates, but this needs to be put into perspective: old-school wide players have a harder time creating clear-cut chances than those who drift inside and play reverse passes.

The biggest contribution Navas will make will be unsung. His addition will, on paper, "cure" the Citizens' shape issues and afford everyone else more room on the field.

Manchester City have secured a player to fill their biggest need as early as the June 4—an impressive, proactive feat.

Of all the potential transfers in Europe this summer, Jesus Navas and Manchester City is arguably the most perfect fit from a technical and tactical point of view.

Rating: 9/10



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