Sevilla are ready to test Manchester City’s resolve to keep hold of Jesus Navas by launching a summer bid for the Spanish winger.
City boss Pep Guardiola communicated his decision to include Navas in his squad for the upcoming season back in May, and the 30-year-old reported for pre-season training on July 4.
Sevilla have retained an interest in bringing Navas back to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan ever since selling him to the English club in 2013, and would be favourites to land his signature next summer when his contract at the Etihad Stadium expires.
But they have been forced to ramp up their interest in order to meet UEFA’s eligibility criteria for next season’s Champions League campaign.
Sevilla will not be able to submit their list to European football’s governing body if they do not re-sign a player that has previously come through their academy.
Having been unable to re-sign Rayo Vallecano’s Jozabed due to a serious injury, the Andalusians approached Liverpool about a move for Luis Alberto, who has been on loan at Malaga and Deportivo La Coruna in the past two seasons.
The Anfield club are unwilling to let Alberto leave for less than €9 million, however, meaning Sevilla are now exploring the possibility of signing Navas, who they believe would be available for around €15m.
Navas, who was born in Sevilla and joined the club’s academy as a 15-year-old, is still a firm fan favourite and is seen as the ideal candidate to fill the remaining homegrown spot.
An official bid would further shake up City’s plans for next season, with a number of planned outgoings already on hold while the Blues try to recruit their top targets.
The likes of Aleksandar Kolarov, Pablo Zabaleta and Eliaquim Mangala could all depart the Etihad this summer, but City’s attempts to bring in reinforcements are yet to bear fruit.
After ruling out a move for Torino right-back Bruno Peres, City could yet step up their interest in Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin.
Guardiola is a fan of the former Barcelona trainee and the Blues have kept a close eye on his progress in recent months.
It is City’s pursuit of Schalke’s 20-year-old winger Leroy Sane, however, which could have the biggest say in Navas’ future.
The Premier League club remain favourites to sign Sane, despite rumoured rival interest from Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, but Schalke have so far rebuffed their overtures.
That has spawned rumours linking Guardiola’s side with Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez, who, Goal understands, has been on City’s radar throughout the summer but had fallen behind Sane in the pecking order of targets.
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