It would be interesting to see just what Stevan Jovetic has done with his Premier League winners’ medal, and indeed his Capital One Cup winners’ medal if he was given one.
Both represent the first honours that the Montenegrin has won since his breakthrough season at Partizan Belgrade in 2007/08, when the teenager’s 19 goals helped his first ever club to a Serbian league and cup double and ultimately led to his move to Fiorentina.
The forward’s star was on the rise and the Serie A club were the beneficiaries, as consistent displays and goals in the Champions League marked him out as one of the top talents to watch in the European game.
Now though, having just played the bittiest of bit-part roles in Manchester City’s successes in his first campaign in English football, Jovetic finds his career at something of a crossroads. He’s part of a successful team which might have more successes to come, but having only started two Premier League games last season he’ll despair at just how small a part he is.
Injury was the greatest cause of that frustration, of course, but City would be foolish to give up on him. According to the Daily Mail’s Chris Wheeler, though, giving up on Jovetic is exactly what the club won’t be doing.
Amid the reported interest from Inter Milan that Wheeler outlines in his story, it would be easy for Jovetic to turn his back on England and head back to a country in which he scored 35 league goals in 116 appearances over five seasons—missing out on the 2010/11 campaign entirely due to injury.
Ah yes, injury. It’s never too far away when discussing the forward, but the qualities he is capable of showing dictate that he really is worth the risk for a City side who will be competing on four fronts again next season.
Surely Jovetic’s finest moment in his brief City career so far was when he started and starred in the 2-0 win over Chelsea in the FA Cup in February, scoring the opening goal after 16 minutes. It represented an apex in his career at his current club, but it really should be an example of just what he can do if he’s able to play a fuller part in the coming campaign.
Sergio Aguero’s own injury problems and the worrying drop off in form of Alvaro Negredo could make Jovetic a crucial player for City in 2014/15, and whilst the temptation to claim that he’ll be “like a new signing” for the club may be a little cliched, it is probably true.
Taking the easy way out and allowing Jovetic to go back to Italy wouldn’t be beyond the realms of possibility for a club like City, who can afford to buy any number of the world’s top forwards, but their decision to cling onto a top forward that they’ve already got is admirable.
In this summer period whilst all eyes are on Brazil, hopefully the Montenegro international—whose three Premier League goals last season came in big wins against Tottenham, Southampton and Aston Villa—is working hard on his fitness, getting into a position where he can enjoy a full and healthy pre-season campaign.
Manuel Pellegrini should be at pains to ensure that the attacking unit which fired 102 goals in 2013/14 to finish one goal and two points ahead of Liverpool isn’t broken up this summer, and that includes hanging on to a player who must have felt low at various points of the last campaign.
Jovetic has still only played 16 times for City, largely from the bench and never in the Champions League.
This time next year he could well have quadrupled that number and be playing key roles in more of the club’s successes.
Successes which ensure that whatever future medals he picks up will be treasured a lot more than those he gained in the last few months.