Luka Jovic, one of the stars of the 2018/19 Bundesliga season, is set to fit into Zinedine Zidane’s plans at Real Madrid next season. Jovic joins Real Madrid with a strong reputation built in Germany.
But how will he fit in at Madrid during an expected summer of transition at the La Liga giants? We take a closer look…
Jovic’s rapid career rise
The 21-year-old Serbian striker arrives at the Bernabeu for a hefty price tag and the inevitable expectation to be a consistent goalscorer straight from the off in Spain.
But he is used to being the centre of attention. Even as a 17-year-old working his way up at Red Star Belgrade, the Serbian SuperLiga club’s general director Zvezdan Terzic said “Jovic will become the best striker in Europe”.
Jovic left Belgrade aged 18 and moved to Benfica where he struggled to make a breakthrough, rotating between the senior team and Benfica B before a two-season loan switch to Frankfurt arrived in summer 2017.
After scoring eight goals in 22 appearances in his opening season in Germany, the 2018/19 Bundesliga season concludes this weekend with Jovic accumulating 17 goals in 31 games.
Five of those arrived in a 7-1 thrashing of Fortuna Dusseldorf in October. And before he departs, Jovic may also have a say in the German title race as Frankfurt can prevent Bayern Munich from lifting the trophy on the Bundesliga final day.
Former Frankfurt striker Alexander Meier labelled Jovic “the best finisher I ever played with” and spoke of his ability to strike with both feet and his threat in the air.
Real’s financial commitment to the forward shows they have more than taken notice and may even result in declining game-time for Karim Benzema.
Despite Real’s trophyless season involving three managerial changes, the 31-year-old striker is coming off his best season in terms of goal output. It is the first time Benzema has scored 30+ goals in all competitions since the 2011/12 campaign.
But with Barcelona set to trigger Antoine Griezmann’s release clause and an expectation to be genuine title contenders again next season, the introduction of Jovic could mean an overhauled frontline.
With Zidane’s preference for a 4-3-3, it seems likely there will be room for just the one out-and-out striker in the first team.
Jovic to spearhead a new front three?
Vinicius Junior’s starting XI game-time has predominantly come under the now-departed Santiago Solari, but his time on the pitch has been disrupted by a knee ligament injury and the 18-year-old has only recently returned to competitive action.
Vinicius, who joined Real from Flamengo for £38m, has scored three goals in all competitions this season but has shown flashes of brilliance amid a disappointing campaign for Real.
He is heavily tipped to feature for Brazil in the Copa America this summer. A strong showing in South America’s most prestigious tournament and his first-team opportunities under Zidane could be bolstered further.
Eden Hazard has stated he has already made a decision over his futurewith Real confident they will sign the Chelsea forward.
Perhaps he can be the one to finally fill the void on the left-wing since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure last summer clearly still being felt and Hazard only having one year left on his Chelsea contract.