After a slow start to life as a City player, it seems Stevan Jovetic is set to play a significant role in the coming weeks. Niggling injuries have restricted his appearances thus far, but after playing an hour against Stoke in the recent draw at the Britannia Stadium, he started again in last night’s Capital One Cup win over Wigan, scoring twice and impressing with his all-round game.
His goals weren’t the most impressive part—the first had an element of good fortune and the second was a close-range finish. It was his touch, vision, awareness and understanding of the game that was most striking.
Jovetic is a purist's dream: comfortable with both feet, with an ability to see things on the pitch others simply can’t.
Manuel Pellegrini’s assessment of Jovetic after the game was telling:
He wasn't playing normally because he had some physical problems but the last two weeks he has been working hard and I am sure he is going to be a really important player for us.
Despite the stop-start nature of his early City career, Pellegrini sees him having a big part to play in the coming months.
Adaptability seems to be one of his major strengths. Against Wigan, he played just off Edin Dzeko, whereas at Stoke he played alongside Alvaro Negredo, looking perfectly comfortable in both roles. He can also come in from the left, doing damage by cutting inside and driving at the opposition's defence.
In an interview a few weeks ago with Jamie Jackson for the Guardian, he spoke about his ability to function in numerous roles, saying:
Obviously, it depends on the tactical system. I like to either play on the left-hand side cutting in or just behind the front striker, playing as a second striker.
He arrived at City as one of the most sought-after young players in European football. Signed from Fiorentina, he had played 145 league games in total for both Partizan Belgrade and La Viola, scoring 47 times. A cruciate ligament injury forced him to miss the 2010/11 campaign but he returned the following season and performed well, scoring 14 goals and proving himself to be Fiorentina’s most creative player.
There had been talk of a move to England for some time, with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger a known admirer of his talents. However, it was City who landed him, paying £22 million (via the BBC) for his services. It’s been a frustrating few weeks but it seems he’s ready to start forcing his way into City’s first XI.
The signs have been positive. His performances against AC Milan in preseason and in his two games so far this season have been good. He just needs a run of games now to bed himself into the team.
Jovetic certainly looks to have the talent to make a big impression on English football and, if he can remain injury-free, we could see him become an essential part of this new-look City side.