In what might be one of the biggest signings of this window, Odisha FC announced today the signing of Jonathas de Jesus from Sharjah FC. The 32-year-old spent last season on loan at Hatta FC from Sharjah, which competes in the UAE Gulf League. Having played in the Bundesliga, Eredivisie, and La Liga, Jonathas brings a high-profile with him to the Indian Super League and will certainly be a player to watch out for in the coming season.
Jonathas came up through the academy of Cruzeiro before his first major break came when he was signed by AZ Alkmaar on a four-year contract in 2008. AZ management was impressed by the youngster’s performance with the Brazilian U-20 team as a result of which they decided to offer him a taste of Dutch football. The forward had a fantastic start to his career with AZ, netting a winner in extra time against FC Utrecht. Jonathas played 311 minutes for AZ in the Europa League next year.
The Brazilian joined Brescia in Serie A during the winter transfer window, where he played in six matches, starting two, before they were relegated to Serie B. Jonathas enjoyed a very successful season the following year, finishing as the top scorer of Serie B. The following season, he signed for Pescara to return to Serie A. He spent another two years in the Italian top division before moving to Spain.
Jonathas played almost all the matches for Elche in the 2014/15 La Liga season, quickly becoming a new hero at the Valero Stadium. He scored 14 goals and contributed 7 assists during that season. His impressive performances attracted many suitors, but Real Sociedad prevailed to sign the young forward next season. However, he didn’t meet the expectations at Anoeta, leaving La Real with Mini Raiola’s help after scoring seven goals in 29 appearances. A 7-million-euro deal got him to Rubin Kazan in Russia.
Jonathas moved to the Bundesliga next season with Hannover 96. The player was sought by clubs such as Real Betis, Getafe, and Malaga, but chose to move to Germany. During his time with Kazan, The Brazilian scored 11 goals and dished out 3 assists before moving to his native country to play for Corinthians in the following season, followed by a return to Elche in 2019. Seven goals were scored by the 32-year-old in 14 games in the Segunda Division that season.
Sharjah FC signed the striker last year but immediately loaned him to Hatta FC where he played for 829 minutes and scored six goals. The journeyman has has now finally landed in India with DV7 and Odisha FC making major efforts to sign the 32-year-old.
With a height of 6’3″, Jonathas has a massive physical presence inside the box and has a lethal right-foot. Taking an average of 2.61 shots per game, he had an xG per shot of 0.28, higher than Ali Mabkhout, the league’s top scorer. The player’s accuracy inside the box was also unmatched, as he generated an xG of 6.70 and scored six goals.
The Juggernauts had earlier announced the signing of Spanish winger Aridai Cabrera. Odisha is expected to have a potent offensive line with Jonathas and Cabrera this year. The Brazilian is being touted as a replacement for Diego Mauricio, the only shining star last season for Odisha FC. Jonathas has heavy boots to fill, as Diego was the leader of the Odisha FC frontline alone, something evident from his figures- 7.69 xG and a whooping 12 goals. He averaged 7.30 offensive duels per 90 minutes and had a dribble success rate of 50%, more than what Diego Mauricio had last season. Additionally, he had a dribble success rate of 75% against opponent center-backs.
Jonathas had an xGChain of 0.88 per 90 minutes, a metric that assigns the xG value of a shot to each player who took any action in the attack that led to it. Basically, a general-purpose metric for attacking contribution. It is easy to imagine the player terrorizing defenders in the ISL with his incredible pace as well.
Javi Hernandez and Victor Mongil, both ISL-proven players, were acquired earlier in the transfer window by Odisha FC. Aridai Cabrera and Hector Rodas were signed to follow the tried and proven Spanish approach to success. But Odisha’s last two signings has been different with Brazilian striker Jonathas and Malaysian midfielder Liridon Kardinsqi joining the club.
After finishing last season with the wooden spoon, Odisha has made major improvements to their entire set-up announcing partnerships with DV7 and English club Watford FC. They have also appointed Kiko Ramirez as their new coach for the upcoming season.
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