Stevan Jovetic: Purple Haze

Adam Digby@@Adz77Featured ColumnistSeptember 29, 2009

FLORENCE, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 23: Stefan Jovetic of Fiorentina celebrates after scoring the first goal during the Serie A match at Stadio Artemio Franchi on September 23, 2009 in Florence, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

Anyone unfamiliar with Fiorentina who found themselves watching Liverpool's Champions League defeat on Tuesday is probably still sitting there, slightly dazed look across their face, thinking "How the hell did Brian May score twice past the five time European Champions, and how come he looks so young?"

Ladies and Gentlemen (and any Bleacher Creature who's unsure), it gives me great pleasure to introduce you to Stevan Jovetic.

"Jojo", as he is known to fans of la Viola, signed for the Italian club in May 2008. Only 18 at the time of the move, he had already played an incredible 51 games for the Serbian champions Partizan Belgrade.

Jovetic was one of the players involved in the first game of the Montenegro national team, which played Hungary in 2007, aged just 17. Since then he has gone on to score six goals in eleven International fixtures and has also captained the side on two occasions.

His progress had been monitored by a number of top European sides including Real Madrid and Manchester United. But Fiorentina and their Sporting Director Pantaleo Corvino managed to beat them all, by securing his signature for seven million pounds. Last season, a meagre two goal haul seemed scant reward for his effort.

After this match, it is fast becoming a deal that can be labelled a bargain. The main difference in his second season is that consistency has been added to last years occasional flashes of brilliance.

Despite - or perhaps because of - the presence of established stars Mutu and Gilardino, Jovetic has become a permanent fixture in the side. The addition of physical strength to his already obvious class and style have seen him take over the team, particularly in important or difficult moments.

This has lead to the inevitable comparison to Roberto Baggio, a true Viola legend. Jovetic himself hates the Baggio comparison, but Fiorentina fans are finding it increasingly difficult not to get carried away.

The start of Jojo-mania came after he scored the goals that got them through the qualification rounds of the Champions League, lifting them past Sporting Lisbon. Since then he has added winners over Palermo, Sampdoria and Livorno. Now with this victory over Liverpool, fans of the Gigliati will have to hope this is one star they can hold on to.

His signature will become even more sought-after than ever, and with the addition of buy-out clauses to the clubs contract structure they are right to be nervous. Juventus showed no hesitation in paying to secure Felipe Melo, how long before one of Europe's giants comes calling?

Fiorentina have shown they are willing to sell their stars as long as the price is right. The departure of Andrea Della Valle has damaged the infrastructure of the club, and Jovetic was closer than most to the former president, dedicating a goal to him last weekend.

Now is not the time to discuss possible transfers however. Fiorentina fans should enjoy their moment, as should Jovetic. The future may indeed be bright, but the present is most definitely la Viola.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.