Did you know that only five midfielders in the Premier League have touched the ball more in opposing penalty boxes than Manchester City’s Jesus Navas this season?
Yet, while Chelsea have been rewarded with 11 goals from Eden Hazard, Arsenal 13 from Alexis Sanchez, Man City themselves 11 from David Silva and Liverpool six from Raheem Sterling, Navas hasn’t scored at all in the top-flight for Manuel Pellegrini’s men.
In fact, his only goal of the whole season came in the middle of City’s 7-0 Capital One Cup romp over Sheffield Wednesday in September.
Granted, the Spanish whippet has contributed more assists than the likes of Samir Nasri and James Milner, but 150 touches of the ball in the 18-yard box of other teams should bring more goals.
Jefferson Montero is the next player down the list in terms of touches to goals ratio and the Swansea wide-man has only had 64.
Furthermore, Navas is not the most defensively disciplined of wingers, tending to retain a high position and extremely wide in case the chance of a counter-attack develops. His problem is that he doesn’t offer enough of an attacking threat consistently enough for City to offer this luxury.
Bobby Gould has previously referred to Navas as the worst signing that City have made and in today’s environment when players benefit from being flexible in terms of position and adaptable in terms of formation, the 29-year-old is limited on both counts.
Given the opinions that the current City squad is too old and some younger blood needs to be incorporated, Navas has to be one of the first out of the door, with a move back to Spain surely a possibility.
And it is another Spaniard that City should be pushing the boat out to get as his replacement.
Spanish newspaper Sport has indicated that Pedro will be allowed to leave Barcelona for £14m this summer, with Arsenal reportedly towards the front of the queue to sign him.
Pedro was at his best when Pep Guardiola was in charge of Barcelona, with his main attribute being an uncanny ability to time his run in behind defences from a starting position out wide.
This was perfect with Lionel Messi as a false nine dragging defenders up the pitch, while the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta were perfect at picking out the killer pass.
However, there has been a shift in recent years that has been advanced further by Luis Enrique which involves less possession in midfield, quicker supply to the attacking players and more on-the-ball involvement from them.
Pedro was never one to beat a player with skill, but this is now how Barca like to use their wide attackers. The attackers now get on the ball as much as possible and attack.
Not that the current strategy is doing Barcelona any harm, as they are 1/4 to win the Spanish top flight and 5/2 to lift the Champions League, having already dumped out Man City.
The result has been that Pedro has started less than half of Barcelona’s La Liga matches this season and there seems little reason to keep a player that doesn’t truly fit their playing style.
It’s similar to a squad possessing out-an-out full-backs despite the preferred tactic being 3-5-2 or wingers attempting to fit into a 4-4-2 midfield diamond.
At the age of 27, Pedro wouldn’t do much to bring down the average age of the Man City squad, but he would offer the guarantee to goals from the wide positions that are currently too rare from Navas, Milner and Nasri.
Furthermore, City have Silva to become the next Xavi in terms of feeding Pedro and a player with a far greater track record of providing an end product than Navas.
City having Txiki Begiristain as director of football should strengthen their position of pushing through a deal too, given his previous role at the Nou Camp.