In an eventful few weeks which has seen Manchester City make Raheem Sterling the most expensive English footballer of all time and persuade Fabian Delph into the most incredible of u-turns, reports suggest a big name will soon be seen slipping out of the club’s back door in the Italy-bound Stevan Jovetic. The Montenegro international first joined City back in 2013 for a fee of £22 million but has been unable to justify his reputation – making just 39 appearances in all competitions in two seasons. Jovetic’s imminent departure to Inter Milan will likely be quiet and go relatively undiscussed as the cameras continue to follow big-money moves elsewhere, but in offloading the highly-rated forward City are potentially making a huge error of judgement.
Jovetic, along with Dzeko, has been one of only two players to not feature for the club in their pre-season tour, and is said to be very close to returning to Serie A in the coming days for a fee in the region of £10 million. Prior to joining Pellegrini’s City, the ex-Fiorentina man was one of the most lauded and sought-after talents in world football, with a queue of elite clubs interested in his signature. Yet despite the hype and expectation, the versatile forward has struggled to become a permanent fixture in Pellegrini’s plans due to numerous injuries and the wonderful form of Sergio Aguero and David Silva. Football can be a cruel game and for clubs with the aspirations of City cruelty is probably a necessary evil when things aren’t quite working out – but doesn’t a man with the ability and potential of Jovetic deserve more time?
Last season, the injury-ridden forward managed just nine Premier League starts, yet still contributed in relative terms a very respectable five goals and three assists. Stats aside, one need only take one look at Jovetic’s game to realise what an asset he can be to any manager. The ex-Fiorentina man can play in a wide position, as a lone striker or in a supporting role, and is capable of operating more than competently anywhere across a front three. In this sense, he is nowhere near as constrained in a positional sense as the one-dimensional Jesus Navas or as limited as Edin Dzeko. For all of their attacking talent, City under both Mancini and Pellegrini have been accused of lacking a plan B when plan A fails to break the more stubborn teams down – what better plan B is currently on the club’s books than the multi-faceted Steven Jovetic? Inter Milan’s gain is undeniably City’s loss.
Furthermore, with Negredo gone and Jovetic packing his bags, does Pellegrini really have the firepower to compete in the Premier League? Never mind in all four competitions. As more talent is shown the exit door more pressure is piled on the shoulders of Aguero to carry the team forward. The Argentinian certainly has the ability to do so – but not the injury record. Indeed, Manchester City’s financial might has meant that the club’s revolving doors are forever in motion, with Jovetic looking next to join a list of players including Negredo and De Jong who were sold too soon to make way for incoming talent. Money is fruitful when used wisely, but so its patience when exercised enough. Talents like Jovetic must be treated delicately and given time to blossom rather than disposed after one use.
Pellegrini is rumoured to be strongly interested in bringing Wolfsburg star Kevin De Bruyne to the club and the money made from Jovetic would likely be put towards any deal for the Belgian. Importantly, however, do not let the irony elude you. Just like Jovetic, De Bruyne came to England riding high on impressive performances and a tremendous reputation, yet was shown the door in no time at all after failing to make an instant impact. Now the ex-Chelsea man is one of the sought-after names on the planet and could well be on the brink of another big summer move. If Jovetic is able to pick up where he left off in Italy, he will undoubtedly have the world’s gaze cast on his brilliance and the bigger clubs vying for his services once more. At 25, the Montenegrin has a long career ahead of him with all the talent to be a huge success for any employer. Manchester City may live to regret terminating the contract of their employee so soon.
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