PROFILE: Steven Jovetic

In essence, Stevan Jovetic is a direct replacement for the recently departed Carlos Tevez – a true centre forward. Their style of play, build and qualities allow people to easily draw comparisons. Manchester City have acquired one of the most exciting and coveted young strikers in Europe; and all for £22m. Arguably their best deal, pound for pound, since Gael Clichy considering the boundless potential Jovetic has. 

Jovetic, like Tevez, is also extremely versatile; capable of playing in a variety of positions across a forward line. Tevez’s versatility was one of the key reasons behind his overstay at City. Having been rooted from his spot as the undisputed striker by Agüero, Carlos was re-created into a deep lying forward, where some of his creative abilities could be exploited. Tevez even did a great job out wide when Mancini refused to play wingers. Jovetic excels in all those roles.

Having started off his days at Partizan Belgrade as a second forward, ‘Jo-Jo’ worked more on his movement and passing rather than brute finishing. A £8m move to Fiorentina in 2008 as a 19 year old saw Stevan converted into a striker – but with less goal-scoring responsibilities. There he slowly earned his place in the team before being cruelly ruled out of the entire 2010-11 season through a knee injury at the young age of 20.

Still, Stevan was determined to come back stronger. He underwent a rigorous gym routine during recovery, gaining a few kilos and bulking up in order to cope better in a physical Serie A league. He also claimed he worked harder on his finishing, particularly his heading. The once happy, go-lucky teen matured both mentally and physically and results were instant. Jovetic netted 14 goals in 27 league appearances the following season and then 13 in 31 the next (last season); all while exciting La Viola fans with his attractive football. In the process, Jovetic caught the eye of many top European clubs who were captivated by his all round game. Jovetic boasts a respectable record 27 goals in 58 league appearances since turning 20 years old – even more so considering he was being played in a variety of attacking positions.

The young Montenegrin’s all round game was probably the biggest factor in his move to City considering many players there are particularly one dimensional or suited to one position. Stevan can play in all 4 forward positions in City’s current 4-2-3-1 formation aswell as being suited to Maunel Pellegrini’s favoured 4-2-2-2. Being able to play as a striker, behind a striker or even out wide could potentially give Pellegrini a huge variety of options. His ability to drop in between the lines, drift wide and shoot from distance as well as penetrate the box is very reminiscent of Carlos Tevez while his link-up play is to die for. Jovetic also has an uncanny ability to bring down long balls and hold on to them with ease. A skill City fans will argue doesn’t exist after watching Edin Dzeko last season.

Considering Jovetic was so out-going in his CityTV interview about playing behind the striker, you can probably bet on Pellegrini deploying him there. Playing as the second striker aka the ‘Centre Forward’ is where Jovetic’s creativity could really be exploited. Jo-Jo created  the 4th most clear cut chances last year in only 31 league appearances while averaging an incredible 1.8 key passes a game, playing in a slightly deeper role would probably suit Stevan the most considering City already boast an incredible array of prolific strikers. Playing off a one-dimensional hitman like Dzeko or newly signed Negredo would be ideal but partnering Jovetic with Kun Aguero is certainly a more exciting option. Jovetic excels passing-wise, so his movement and vision playing in Tevez’s former spot could really bring out the best of Aguero.

Jovetic, who speaks very good English, set himself a target of “between 15 and 20 goals in all competitions this season.”. A fair target considering he will be judged more on how well he plays around Manchester City’s strike force . Tactical nous and brilliant link up play are vital credentials when playing alongside players like Aguero and Silva and Jo-Jo is no stranger to that having created a brilliant partnership with Adem Ljajic back in Fiorentina.  Stevan Jovetic is far from the finished article but his potential to blossom into a world class striker is undisputed.  Whether a target Man, second striker or even on the wing, Stevan Jovetic is someone who creates something from nothing.

written by Anis Bazza

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