Tuesday, October 7 th, 2014
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The wrong transfer in the right moment: why is Stevan Jovetić failing in Premier League?
With Man City's £22 million signing struggling for fitness and game time in Manchester - we must ask the question - was this the wrong move at the right time for Jo-Jo?
by Richard Clarke
Having made his senior debut for Partizan Belgrade at the tender age of 16 - it didn't take Jovetic long to make his mark on top-flight football - by the end of his third full season with the Serbian giants, the 2007/08 season, the young Montenegrin had 19 goals in 33 appearances in all competitions.

At age 19 he became Partizan's youngest ever club captain ensuring is status as a club icon. After brief flirtations with the world's top clubs, Fiorentina came calling and paid £8 million to take him to Florence. During his 5 years with la Viola Jovetic became a fan favourite and managed 35 goals in 116 Serie A games - his final two season were especially impressive with returns of 14 goals in 27 games in the 2011/12 season and 13 goals in 31 games in the 2012/13 campaign - this is all the more stunning considering the fact that Jovetic missed the entire 2010/11 season with a potentially career-ending cruciate ligament injury.

Last summer Man city paid £22 million to bring Joveta to England but the move has not been the fairytale the former Partizan captain may have dreamed of. With only 2 starts in the league this year and 8 appearances from the bench we must look back at Jo-Jo's debut campaign in English football as a disappointment so far. But how did this happen?

A move to Manchester City was certainly an ambitious choice from Jovetic - breaking into the starting eleven at a club that boasts the attacking talent of Aguero, Dzeko, Negredo, Toure and Silva was never going to be easy and the blistering form of the former champions forwards has meant that first team opportunities have been scarce. Coming from a different footballing culture - players like Jovetic certainly need playing time to adjust - but at a club like Man city this indulgence can simply not be afforded.

Injuries have played a massive part in Jovetic's stop start introduction into the Premier League. The young Montenegrin has struggled for fitness all season - a series of niggling impairments have meant that any hope of finding consistency and form this year has long been over. Man City fans have been desperate for a look at their new striker but have only been given glimpses of their No 35 as he has struggled to carve out a niche out for himself in the blue of the Citizens. Underneath the myriad problems with form and fitness is a truly talented footballer who has all the attributes to be one of English Football's stand-out foreign imports. Jovetic is technically gifted and physically strong enough to succeed in the Premier League, he has the vision and skill to cut open any defence and his finishing is more than accomplished.

But will Jo-Jo ever get the chance to showcase his true ability at Man City and fulfil his potential? Man City's throwaway culture with their under-performing strikers suggests that the young Montenegrin may find himself following in the footsteps of his predecessors Tevez, Balotelli, Robinho and Adebayor - an expensive mistake. Looking back to last summer may hold the key to Jovetic's struggles - his move to Man City was the wrong option at the right time.

A step up to a top club was certainly in order for the former Fiorentina ace but a transfer to a team already bursting with attacking talent was a curious choice. Courted by Juventus for years - surely a move to the Old Lady would have been the best option for Jovetic to follow with Champions League football, Serie A titles and regular playing time all on offer? Supposedly promised the coveted No 10 shirt, rumours of a move to Juve were rife for the best part of the summer - memories of Roberto Baggio might have been a factor in la Viola's reluctance to negotiate but the Bianconeri's apprehension to cough up Jovetic's £25 million asking price was surely the overriding factor.

The Bianconeri instead sprung for a bargain price Tevez who has been more than apt. Links with Arsenal also persisted with Arsene Wenger looking to add a striker to his depleted attack. This mooted move made perfect sense for all parties, a foreign buyer and first team opportunities aplenty for Jo-Jo, but never materialised. In the end Man City were the only club willing to cough up Fiorentina's so-called hefty £22 million price tag. Maybe Joveta will look back on these links with a question of 'what if?'.

Jo-Jo is a player that has thrived in the spotlight - a club captain at 19 and a talisman for la Viola at 23 - he must be given a platform to perform on - playing second fiddle to more trusted strikers at Man City does not suit Jovetic's profile - and without game time to prove his quality it appears that the young Montenegrin is facing a difficult catch 22 - does he try and carve out a role at Man City or start again at a different club? According to Jovetic's agent Fali Ramadani a move is the last thing on his client's mind at the moment, 'Possibility of leaving Manchester? Absolutely not. Stevan will remain at City.

Is there interest on the part of Juve? No. Juventus are no longer interested in Jovetic'. It seems for now Jovetic is content to battle Aguero et al for a starting spot in the Citizens attack which is a fight a fit Jo-Jo is more than up to. Following some recent impressive performances, and with the full support of the fans behind him, it's up to the young Montenegrin to make the most of the chances given to him. With Man City's title challenge now hanging in the balance with 5 must win games left - surely now is the time to risk their fit-again wild card Montenegrin striker - the stage is set, but will it be too little too late for Jo-Jo and the the blue half of Manchester?

Monday, April 21 st, 2014
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