Stevan Jovetic’s importance to Manchester City’s title challenge
With two quality attacking purchases in the last few days – Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic – Manchester City have not only sounded out their intentions loud and clear, but are likely to be a major force once again in the Premier League, as they look to regain the title from the clutch of their bitter rivals.
Last night, Serie A outfit Fiorentina confirmed that they have agreed a deal worth £25.8 million for the highly rated Montenegro forward, Stevan Jovetic, where City will pay an initial £22 million, while the rest could rise through bonus payments.
The 23-year-old is class apart in his own right. He can dribble, has a poacher instinct, possess eye for passes, superb in link-up plays, excellent in positioning (read as tactical awareness) and can shoot from long range too – a dream signing for any manager. Jovetic can primary play as a striker too, but his best position is the classic no10, just behind the main striker.
He will become the fourth signing of the season (pending medical), following the arrivals of Fernandinho (£30m), Jesus Navas (£15m) and Alvaro Negredo (£20.6m – pending medical) into the Etihad, taking Man City’s spending spree close to £100 million in the summer.
With so much of talent in the side, it will be interesting to see how manager Manuel Pellegrini shapes his squad to good effect. It is understandable that not every player can play their part in such a star-studded team and hence expect a massive squad rotation policy adapted by the Chilean.
Pellegrini during his time at Malaga used mainly two formations, 4-2-3-1 and 4-1-4-1. If he continues with the same system, then probably Jovetic won’t be used as a striker, unless the situation demands so. Hence, in all probability it will be a rotation between Aguero, Dzeko and Negredo mostly, depending on the opposition and the availability of the players.
If he deploys a 4-2-3-1 formation, as we can see below, then this might represent his best starting eleven. Here, Fernandinho starts in his customary position of defensive midfield sitting deep ahead of the defenders, while Yaya Toure will be given the role of a box to box midfielder.
Navas is a typical old-school right winger, who is blessed with terrific pace and is very good at passing and crossing (269 crosses attempted last season in La Liga and has a passing accuracy of 80.01%) but rarely changes his flanks. So, expect him to be stationed at the right side of the pitch only, which means David Silva would be drifted on the left hand side of the midfield, while Jovetic drafted in the hole, behind Aguero. But, since, both the players being technically gifted expect Silva and Jovetic to often swap positions, making it hard for the defenders to man-mark.
However, if he uses a 4-1-4-1 system, expect Nasri to start rather than Navas. In such a system, Silva would move on the right hand side, Jovetic slightly forward as usual, and Toure acting as the team’s metronome, will be used to sprinkle passes from the centre. The only advantage is, since the Ivorian will be playing slightly higher up the pitch, he can contribute more to the attacking threat of the team.
The position of Nasri and Jovetic will be interesting here. Expect, Jovetic to play in the no 10 role, but can interchange their positions with the Frenchman, depending upon the situation of the game. If the tactical battle demands more control of the game from the centre then Nasri can easily drift alongside Toure, acting as an extra central midfielder to help out the team in retaining the possession.
In such a situation, Jovetic will be shifted towards left wide, where he has played before, especially in away fixtures and big games, when his side needed more defensive outlook.
Because, of this versatility and his ability to adapt to the need of the game, Jovetic is so highly rated in entire Europe. The Montenegrin is often compared to the likes of Italian striker Roberto Baggio and Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola, while his former national team boss Dejan Savicevic claimed that he reminds him of the legendary Johan Cruyff.
It has to be remembered that he is not a 25-goal-scorer man. Hitherto, he has never achieved that feat in his life. In his last two seasons, he has managed only 14 and 13 goals respectively. But, it will be ludicrous to judge his ability solely on the basis of the number of goals scored, as Jovetic is much more than just a goal scorer – he brings a lot more to the game, with his overall contribution.
Whether or not, he can replace the void left by Carlos Tevez, is a matter of conjecture, but one thing is certain that he will be an important attacking element for Manchester City – playing in the wide role, behind the striker or as a front man himself. The price may seem too high for him, but with the best years ahead of the boy from Viola, City have definitely taken a calculated gamble, investing big on him.
All the chalkboards are taken from EPL Index. Stat taken from Whoscored.com