Manchester City are set to sign Sevilla’s Jesús Navas for $26 million (£17m).
Once pen is put to paper, which is expected later today, Navas will become Manuel Pellegrini’s first signing at Manchester City. The initial transfer fee of $26 million (£17m) could be supplemented by a $7.2 million (£4.7m) bonus based on performance, $4.6 million (£3m) of which Sevilla are virtually guaranteed.
After Sevilla’s final game of the season on Saturday night, manager Unai Emery all but admitted that a deal was done: “All the signs are that Navas will leave,” Emery said. “It is the best thing for Navas and for the club.”
Navas added more fuel to the fire when he claimed, “I am open to anything and I want to win titles. City is a team I like a lot.”
The Spanish international has a well-documented history of performance-related anxiety attacks. The attacks marred the early stages of his career where he had resistance from playing outside of his native Sevilla. As a result, his appearances for La Furia Roja were few and far between. A little over three years ago Navas gained control of the attacks and has since represented his country 23 times and was selected for the 2010 World Cup and 2013 European Championships.
Now Navas is ready to make the next step and leave Andalusia for unchartered waters. He’ll be ear-marked to come in on the right side of Pellegrini’s midfield where his searing pace and pinpoint delivery will be sure to provide Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero with plenty of opportunities.
A winger by trade, Navas has changed his game of late, cutting inside the park to become more involved in a playmaker role. The adaptation could prove useful in Pellegrini’s system that encourages wide men like Joaquin to come inside and play more centrally.
With Navas in the mix, James Milner is likely to see a serious reduction in playing time although it’s unlikely that City will go so far as to transfer the England international. Pellegrini will likely start Samir Nasri on the left and Navas on the right and utilize Milner off the bench as a late match spark.
One player who the Navas deal does condemn to a transfer out of the Etihad is Scott Sinclair. The 24 year old rarely saw the pitch this past season and has unimpressed since his move from Swansea City last summer. With Navas in, expect Sinclair to be sold off in the coming weeks.