Serbian Jovanovic Signs with Liverpool as Summer's First Signing

Saura BhattacharjeeAnalyst IJuly 9, 2010

PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 18:  Goalscorer Milan Jovanovic of Serbia celebrates victory in the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group D match between Germany and Serbia at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on June 18, 2010 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Michael Steele/Getty Images

It is official now—Liverpool have signed Serbian striker Milan Jovanovic on a free transfer after much controversy and speculations regarding his move to Anfield.

The arrival of Jovanovic signals the start of Liverpool's summer transfer moves. The impressive Serbian has signed a three-year deal with the Merseyside outfit as the Reds' new manager, Roy Hodgson, completed the move started by his predecessor, Rafa Benitez.

The official signing put to rest doubts regarding the completion of the transfer after  Benitez's exit sparked speculations that Jovanovic could go cold on his pre-contract.

The 29-year-old Serbian ran down his contract at Standard Liege after four successful seasons at the Belgium club, where he won the Footballer of the Year in 2008 and Golden Shoe in 2009.

The Serbian national team regular expressed his excitement and is looking forward to his new adventure in the Premier League as the Reds' prepare for life under new manager Roy Hodgson.

"It is an honour for me to sign for one of the biggest clubs in football," Jovanovic said, speaking to the club's official website.

"I cannot wait to start working with the manager, and I'm looking forward to joining up with my new teammates on our Swiss training camp."

The 28-year-old Jovanovic operates mainly as a striker, but is also comfortable playing out on the left or in an attacking midfield position. The Serbian has a prolific goal scoring record for his former club, Standard Liege.

With Fernando Torres' future at Anfield still uncertain, Jovanovic's transfer will be a boost for the demoralised Reds', who endured a pathetic EPL season which saw them miss out on Champions' League football next season.

Combined with electrifying speed, a great football brain, and an attacking instinct, Jovanovic has the ability to tear up opposition defenses in the blink of an eye. He is also a known free-kick specialist, which will be an added benefit for the Merseyside outfit. His tough physical features will also help him adapt better in the physically demanding Premier League.

But he is somewhat short-tempered and is known for his angry outbursts on the field, which has seen him face numerous bookings previously. Hodgson has to work hard on calming down his new striker's flared temper or Milan could be in trouble.

His arrival will also help reduce the pressure on Liverpool's first choice striker, Torres (if he indeed stays), as the cash-strapped Reds' look to find new buyers and prepare to regain their place in the English Premier League's top slot.

But only the new season will prove whether ex-Liverpool manager Benitez's transfer prospect can live up to the expectations that arise with his arrival at Anfield.