It’s been an incredibly frustrating start to life as a Manchester City player for Stevan Jovetic. Whilst City’s other summer signings have all seen plenty of action and contributed positively to the team’s start, Jovetic has been held back by a series of injuries.
He’s made just three league and two Capital One Cup appearances, the last of which was against Newcastle where he limped off after 10 minutes. It was the latest cruel injury blow that has derailed his progress.
In the glimpses we’ve had of Jovetic, he’s looked excellent: technically sound, comfortable with both feet, great vision and brain—the kind of player the purists love to watch—but his injury record is becoming a concern. The one thing a young player moving to a new league needs is a run of games to find some rhythm and consistency, and that’s exactly what Jovetic has been denied.
Before signing for City, he was considered one of the finest young attacking talents in Europe. Arsenal and Juventus were keen, but City made him a primary transfer target and secured a £22 million deal (via BBC Sport). All the signs indicated that he was going to be a key element of Manuel Pellegrini's new-look attacking system.
It hasn't really worked out, and City have missed him. One of Jovetic's defining features is his versatility. He can operate as the focal point of an attack, or play a withdrawn role, particularly comfortable when playing from the left. Having him fit and available during the opening quarter of the season would almost certainly have benefited City.
David Silva's absences, in particular, would have been less keenly felt had Jovetic been able to replace him. Jovetic appears to have the kind of qualities Silva offers: an ability to dictate the pace of a game and provide chances for his teammates.
City have been denied that luxury and have suffered as a consequence. This is a player who scored 13 Serie A goals for Fiorentina last season, providing five assists (per Soccerway), yet the only real top performance the City fans have seen of him was his two-goal Man of the Match showing against Wigan in the League Cup back in September.
They will now be hoping he can recover from his latest injury and begin to consolidate a position in the team. At 24 and with five years experience in Serie A as well as 30 caps for Montenegro, it's clear they've signed a talented player. With Pellegrini's attacking philosophy bringing the best out of City's forward players, Jovetic is likely to thrive if he can stay fit.
Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here: @TypicalCity.