Newcastle United are reportedly on the verge of sealing the signature of former Manchester City player Jesus Navas on a free transfer and it looks likely that it will be a move greeted with much optimism by the majority of those at St. James’ Park.
The 31-year-old has been heavily linked to a return to Spain in recent weeks, with Sevilla as his likely destination but talks seem to have stalled and the Magpies are now set to jump to the front of the queue.
Whether the quicksilver winger is successful on Tyneside remains to be seen and one would think that his success depends largely on how Rafael Benitez’ newly-promoted side set about the big challenge of staying in the Premier League next season.
Accustomed to the infinite financial resources at City, one would expect the player’s wage demands to be high, however the deal for Navas must surely be seen as a risk-free signing, given that he is currently out of contract and would therefore not command a transfer fee.
At the Etihad Stadium fans were often critical of the wideman’s end product and his inconsistency when crossing the ball into the box. The player managed just 38 assists and eight goals in 183 appearances for City. In stark contrast, last season’s right winger Matt Ritchie created seven and netted 12 for the Magpies in an excellent campaign.
Bearing these figures in mind, some may question whether Navas is needed at St James’ Park at all, though the club look set to lose Yoann Gouffran this summer and Benitez will likely see the experienced Spaniard as an ideal and trusted replacement, providing additional depth and cover for the first team squad.
The club face a monumental task in retaining their Premier League status come May 2018. One of the keys to staying afloat will undoubtedly be their ability to score goals. Known for his blistering pace and eagerness to be direct with the ball at his feet, Navas possesses the ability to change a game.
Though he may not become a leading figure at St. James’ Park, the player might just be the difference between staying up and a dreaded, immediate return to the Championship.