Following a strong 2018/19 campaign for Eibar, Joan Jordán will ply his trade for Sevilla next season. The Catalan midfielder will look to make the step up from mid-table to a side with Champions League aspirations and a strong European heritage. His rapid ascendancy from Espanyol B to one of Spain’s most famous names is a testament to his ability and determination, so it shall be fascinating to see how he applies himself.
Style of play
In the past two seasons, Jordán has found great success playing on the left side of central midfield. Lining up alongside Gonzalo Escalante predominantly, in José Luis Mendilibar’s high pressing 4-4-2, he has found success in being the more advanced central midfielder. With Escalante sitting deep and screening the defence, Jordán was able to dictate the tempo of the side and trigger attacks. The more orthodox 4-4-2 with conventional wingers pushed high up the pitch seemed to enable more space for Jordán inside to play as Cucurella and Pedro Léon occupied opposition players.
As the most advanced playmaker in the Eibar side, Jordán was key in helping the play tick over and using the ball efficiently, as is key in La Liga. Eibar’s way of playing in the opposition half made Jordán’s efficiency with the ball particularly important to how successfully the style was implemented. In his 2374 minutes last season, he attempted 1244 passes, completing 1057 of those. A pass completion rate of 85% was significant for Eibar as they looked to dominate the ball against lesser opposition and to make sure they retained the ball as often as possible against superior sides.
As well as showcasing his ability to circulate the ball efficiently, his long passing has been a useful tool. With Eibar looking to move the ball wide as quickly and often as possible, it is imperative that they are accurate with the longer diagonal passes. Jordán was accurate with 75% of his 126 long balls last term, as well as averaging slightly over two key passes per 90, showcasing his vast array of passing ability.
As has been previously mentioned, Eibar favour a very high press in order to stifle their opponents and nullify any potential threat they may offer before the attack has started. With many teams attempting to play from the back and only a select few able to do so consistently with flawless quality, the high press is a highly effective weapon for Eibar. Jordán was a fantastic asset in implementing this, too. With the two conventional forwards occupying the centre backs and the wingers picking up the full backs and the spaces in the interior channels, it was the job of both central midfielders to try and occupy the 30 yards or so between the opposition centre backs and halfway line, with players inevitably in that space.
Supporting the high press in central areas worked exceptionally well for Jordán. Over the course of the campaign, he contributed to the high press with 211 recoveries, 130 of which came within the opposition half of the pitch. As well as being successful at closing down space and winning the ball back, he has also shown an ability to position himself to cut out opposition passes through the thirds. Last term, he averaged an interception every 27 minutes, a key metric when facing the larger sides who will look to penetrate the lines if they bypass the first press and force Eibar into a deep block. His all-round defensive solidarity made him a key cog in Eibar’s pressing machine.
Missing goalscoring contributions
Despite slightly exceeding his xG of 0.08 last season with an actual figure of 0.12 goals per game, his overall shot selection was quite poor. Three goals last season isn’t a bad haul for a slightly deeper lying midfield player but he almost certainly could contribute more. The reason he exceeded his expected goals figure was that he isn’t exploiting space closer to the box, opting for long-distance strikes. Whilst his long range shooting is relatively good, it would be good to see how he would fare trying to get into the area to add goals to his game.
As well as scoring goals, adding more of a creative spark to his game will make him an even more complete midfielder. He added three assists to his tally of three goals, an assist every 791 minutes. Again, utilising Jordán in a more advanced role, coupled with his quality set-piece delivery, will make him even more of a creative asset.
Where could he fit in at Sevilla?
With Julen Lopetegui favouring a possession-based style of play building from the back, Jordán could fit in nicely next to a holding player, similar to Escalante. It seems likely that Roque Mesa will be the chosen partner with Ever Banega in a free role further up-field. Jordán could be used in a double pivot against superior sides, providing further screening for the defence of Sevilla, or more advanced as a number eight, supporting Banega higher up the pitch to provide an option between the lines.
It will be fascinating to see how Jordán will fare for Sevilla this campaign. Whilst it will demand different things from him, as this analysis showed he does have the right blend of attributes to be a success in Seville in this new look Sevilla side. With the right coaching and personal application, he may one day find himself at an even higher level as he becomes a more complete player.
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