Luka Jovic is one of Europe’s most wanted.
The 21-year-old Serbian marksman is currently plying his trade at Bundesliga surprise package Eintracht Frankfurt on loan from Portuguese giants Benfica.
His adopted club are set to acquire his signature permanently this summer, with reports suggesting it will cost them less than £6m, a bargain if ever there was one.
However, chances are he won’t see out the 2019/20 season with The Eagles, instead given his newfound status – which has led to half of Europe coveting him – there’s a strong likelihood they’ll move him on to make a grand profit.
A who’s who of ‘super clubs’ have been associated with Jovic which no doubt will make him feel nine feet tall. So, where next? As follows are contenders to become Jovic’s next club; a dream option, a realistic choice, a wildcard move – in each category we’ll make a recommendation that’s best suited for him.
Dream: Barcelona or Real Madrid
A return to the Iberian Peninsula is a possibility. Benfica and their supporters will no doubt rue the events which has led to his departure. Their loss could be Real Madrid’s gain. No matter how Los Blancos is performing they remain a dream for the majority of footballers. The 13-time European champions, from everything we know, will be on the lookout for a striker. At the moment Karim Benzema is their primary centre-forward with Mariano Díaz in the understudy role.
Benzema, now in his early 30s, remains a force but he can’t play every single game. Mariano, who inherited Cristiano Ronaldo’s number seven jersey, has seldom featured this season. His standout performances at Lyon last season, where he was on loan, earned him a second chance at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium but it has been far from a dream return. Under Julen Lopetegui and now Santiago Solari the Dominican centre-forward has featured across eight league matches with one goal to his name.
Squawka Suggests: Barcelona
So, it’s clear Real will be scouting, but with so many potential destinations, there will have a fight on their hands. For the majority of times club president Florentino Pérez needn’t worry, only a few would be able to compete with their pull, and one of those interested parties are their arch-rivals Barcelona who must already be planning for life without Luis Suarez, though he remains one of the very best number nine’s around, father time is undefeated.
Now at the tender age of 32, he’s entering his twilight years, and like at Real with Benzema, the Uruguayan must be managed and not overloaded if they are to keep him on the payroll. Nominally a centre-forward, Suarez is also capable of playing on either flank, where he’s often been deployed whenever Lionel Messi has dropped into the deep-lying forward (or false nine) role. Jovic, who shares similar traits with Suarez, is a tailor-made replacement.
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Realistic: Bayern Munich or Liverpool
It’s fast becoming a running gag that Bayern Munich will sign any standout performer in Germany’s top division. So, eyebrows weren’t exactly raised when Jovic’s name was linked with the Bundesliga’s leading club. However, if we can be serious for a moment, it’s not an outlandish pursuit, this isn’t Bayern solely thinking about weakening a rival but rather envisaging life without Robert Lewandowski.
Similar to Suarez there’s no sign of decline. Though you can’t blame Bayern for doing any long-term planning. This summer is expected to be a big one for the Bavarian giants who are set to lose Arjen Robben and potentially Franck Ribery which could potentially sell the move to Jovic knowing there’s a prominent first-team role for him.
Squawka Suggests: Liverpool
That being said, Jovic will most likely want to continue as a centre-forward, with Lewandowski around that may not be possible. Going from being the leading man to a secondary role is still a backwards step even if the new environment is far greater than what he’s been accustomed to. If not Bayern, what about their Champions League rivals Liverpool? It’s fair to say the Reds are searching for a number nine.
Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi, both out and out centre-forwards, aren’t guaranteed starters under Jurgen Klopp who has a knack of improving footballers. Roberto Firmino, initially signed as an attacking midfielder who can play out wide, has since been converted into a false nine. He’s performed exceptionally, but you want a proper number nine, leaving Firmino as an option there and not Plan A. Given this possibility it makes Liverpool the more irresistible option.
Wildcard: Arsenal or Chelsea
Playing in the Premier League is a goal for many. England’s top-flight might not be the best championship but it’s crazily competitive. At the moment we have two clubs duelling for the crown with four others competing for two spots in the top four. One club in the middle of the scramble for a Champions League ticket is Arsenal.
Unai Emery’s men at the moment sit below fourth place Manchester United with the gap being just a single point. Goal scoring, though, hasn’t been an issue for the Gunners who have bagged 61 across their opening 29 matches. Only title rivals Manchester City (76) and Liverpool (64) have been more prolific. A reason has been the availability of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, both of whom can play the centre-forward role, if two’s company…
Squawka Suggests: Chelsea
But that doesn’t mean Jovic will not end up in London, another contender is Chelsea, though dark clouds are on the horizon. Last month the Blues were issued with a transfer ban spanning two windows potentially starting this summer. If they manage to get it delayed then Roman Abramovich’s cheque book is certain to go into overdrive.
A centre-forward will be atop of the list, right now Gonzalo Higuaín is there albeit on loan from Juventus with Álvaro Morata – presently with Atlético Madrid – still an option. Jovic, younger with a higher ceiling, means he will be desirable. Unlike in north London, he’s certain to lead the line at Stamford Bridge more so if the Blues don’t exercise their option to make Higuain’s contract a permanent one.