Arsenal are thinking long-term this summer as they already begin plotting close-season signings. Montenegro international, Stevan Jovetic has moved to the top of Arsene Wenger’s transfer list, after the French boss missed out on David Villa at the start of the year.
The Gunners tried on several occasions to land Villa, and the 31-year-old was understood to be very keen to move to the Premier League. But Wenger has now decided to move on from the Barca star, with Arsenal – who have big money to spend in the close-season – keen to look long-term.
Here’s a look at what Jovetic has to offer.
One of the most promising and sought after young players in Europe a couple of years ago, Jovetic had to prove himself all over again in 2011-12 after returning from a horrific cruciate ligament injury that kept him out for a year.
After representing hometown club Mladost Podgorica at youth level, the Montenegrin was snapped up by Serbian giants Partizan Belgrade and was handed his first-team debut at 16. Expectations were high but Jovetic thrived under pressure to perform and flourished as Partizan’s teenage fulcrum, becoming the club’s youngest ever captain at the age of 19.
Europe’s biggest clubs, including the likes of Manchester United and Real Madrid, were all reportedly monitoring the talented forward, but it was Fiorentina who secured his services for €8 million in 2008 and he played 34 games in his debut campaign to help La Viola qualify for the Champions League for the first time in a decade. The 2009-10 Champions League brought some sensational displays from Jovetic and the continent’s elite were again sniffing around him until he suffered a serious knee injury in pre-season, causing him to miss all of 2010-11 – a far cry from the one year of love he had previously enjoyed.
It could have been a case of another one bites the dust for Jovetic, by then also the leading light of the Montenegro national team. However he proved that the show must go on and battled back to fitness and a role back at the heart of Fiorentina’s side, even earning himself a new contract in October 2011.
As the 2012 January transfer window opened, Jovetic was Fiorentina’s leading scorer for the season and the club’s fans had well and truly found somebody to love. Talk of a move away from Italy is growing and it remains to be seen whether the 23-year-old will show his staying power or if he wants to break free.
This season Jovetic has scored 9 goals in 18 appearances.
Positioning and Ability
The elegant Montenegrin is a beautiful footballer capable of creating and scoring at will. If reports in Italy are to be believed, Wenger will have himself an absolute gem.
The 23-year-old has it all, technique, mental attributes and even good physical skills. He has been extensively watched by Gunners spies. The first scouting missions to watch him took place at the start of last season.
Jovetic’s scouting reports state similarities in the technical style between himself and former skipper Van Persie.
Capable of playing upfront or in a free role behind a main target-man to enable his side to play a style more expansive to make an impression both domestically and in Europe.
If Arsenal have the money we’re led to believe, and Wenger is really after a playmaker to carry revitalise his team, then Jovetic would be a fine addition