Thursday , November 7 2019

Joan Jordan was wanted by Arsenal but who is the midfielder lighting up La Liga?

Spain are prolific producers of central midfielders and the latest causing a real stir in La Liga is Sevilla’s Joan Jordan.

He has made such a stunning start to life at his new club that his new adoring fans are already up in arms when he doesn’t play and many expected him to be in the latest Spain squad.

Here, Sportsmail takes a look at the midfielder who has been one of the best in Spain so far this season and could easily have been playing in the Premier League.

Sevilla’s Joan Jordan is lighting up La Liga after completing a £13m summer move from Eibar

Who is he?

A 25 year-old Spanish central midfielder who is pulling up trees in his homeland, especially since joining Sevilla from Eibar in the summer for a bargain £13million.

What are his strengths?

Jordan is a real all-rounder in Sevilla’s engine room. A technically strong, box-to-box midfielder, with an impressive passing range, both long and short. He is also a goal threat with his shooting from distance and expertise from set-pieces.

His second Sevilla goal this season combined both qualities – a 25 yard, inch-perfect free-kick that left Alaves goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco rooted to his spot.

Jordan is a real all-rounder in Sevilla¿s engine room and boasts an impressive passing range

Jordan is a real all-rounder in Sevilla’s engine room and boasts an impressive passing range

JORDAN STATS 19/20 

Appearances: 10

Goals: 2

Assists: 1

Pass completion: 89.5% 

Why does his name sound familiar?

Because there was a real chance that he could have been a Premier League player this season. Arsenal were keen on Jordan when they were looking for an Aaron Ramsey replacement before West Ham came agonisingly close to signing him. 

Instead he opted to remain in Spain on less money, continue his career with Sevilla and try to establish himself at the top level in Spain and Europe before potentially making any move abroad.

Will his English admirers be kicking themselves at missing out?

Almost certainly, not least because his transfer value has trebled to around £40m according to the CIES Football Observatory. Sevilla have made a strong start to the season both at home and in Europe – sixth in La Liga and top of their Europa League group with two wins from two – and Jordan had been their most important player.

So important in fact that manager Julen Lopetegui has been repeatedly criticised whenever he has subbed Jordan or left him out, not least when he started him on the bench for Sevilla’s trip to Barcelona before the international break.

Sevilla were 3-0 down at half-time and Lopetegui corrected his mistake by bringing on Jordan even if, by then, the damage had already been done.

Jordan's transfer value has trebled to around £40m after a stunning start to the new season

Jordan’s transfer value has trebled to around £40m after a stunning start to the new season

What do the numbers say? He’s been one of the best performers in Spain and Europe hasn’t he?

Indeed. His return of two goals and an assist from this nine league appearances – six starts and two off the bench – hints at his considerable influence.

Dig a little deeper and established stats website whoscored.com explain more. They included Jordan in a European All Star Team of the month for August, a side of the best performing players picked from the continent’s leading leagues.

He was also named La Liga’s best performing player in August, included in their best summer signing XI and a top performer in European competition for his displays in the Europa League.

So where has he been?

Jordan has been quietly working his way up to this point and really kicked on in the last few seasons. Unlike some of his Spanish midfield rivals, Jordan was not one who attracted attention of all the big name scouts and clubs when he was younger.

He featured for a number of Spain’s smaller clubs after starting playing football aged just four before getting a first major break when he joined Espanyol’s youth team in 2011, quite late too at the age of 18.

From there he progressed to their B-team, first team and then Eibar in 2017 following a loan spell at second tier Real Valladolid.

At Eibar Jordan really developed his reputation and became a key player for the team

At Eibar Jordan really developed his reputation and became a key player for the team

What happened at Eibar?

This was where he made big strides. Jordan’s technical qualities were never in doubt but it was in his two years at Eibar where he added strings to his bow that have really helped put him on the map.

Under manager Jose Luis Mendilibar and playing Eibar’s direct style of football, Jordan added a physicality, toughness, intensity and consistency to his game that has helped lift him to new levels.

The small club he helped to impressively overachieve and finish ninth and 12th in La Liga in his two seasons have played a pivotal role in his career.

What about his international prospects?

Many in Spain expected Jordan’s start to the season to earn him a call up for their two fixtures during this international break and his potential inclusion was one of the talking points in and around Robert Moreno’s squad announcement.

Jordan missed out this time but was already on the radar of his national coach while he was at Eibar and is even closer now. He was on the list of provisional selections for the latest squad. It seems only a matter of time before that first call-up comes.

If it doesn’t in time for him to be part of Spain’s Euro 2020 plans he will be part of the new breed after that when the natural changing of the guard takes places. Of course, it doesn’t get much harder when trying to break into the Spain squad than trying to do it as a central midfielder. Moreno’s list of options is almost endless. 

Sergio Busquets, Rodri, Saul, Thiago, Dani Ceballos, Fabian and Santi Cazorla are in the latest squad. Among those missing are Dani Parejo, Koke, Isco and Pablo Fornals. Frightening depth.

Many in Spain expected Jordan to be called up to the Spain squad but he was left out

Many in Spain expected Jordan to be called up to the Spain squad but he was left out

What does his future hold?

Jordan is a big tennis fan and spent part of his summer at Roland Garros at the French Open. He was even fielding calls about possible moves while he was taking in the action in Paris.

And he possesses the analytical mind you might expect anyone who closely follows such a strategic sport as tennis to have. He applies it to his own career, re-watching his own performances in full after playing along with studying games in other leagues too. Nothing will happen in his career without being carefully thought out. 

Interest is mounting again already but Jordan is calm and relaxed about his future and happy at Sevilla, who he is contracted to until 2023, knowing he is in an ideal place and has the perfect platform to continue to develop.

Continue doing that though and the lure of and interest from some of Europe’s biggest clubs will eventually become too strong to ignore.