Luka Jović: 4 possible destinations for next season

Football is opportunistic, there are no two ways about it. One season you’re considered the next big thing, and two years later those same people may think you’re expendable. If you’ve followed Luka Jović’s career, you’ll know he’s on the chopping block right now, while Darwin Núñez is the new flavour in town, and rightfully so, but don’t count out Luka just yet. With what can only be described as a failed adventure in Madrid coming to an end, it’s time to look at possible destinations for next season.

It wasn’t always like this

But first a small reminder of what Luka is capable of. In 2018/19, his best season so far, Luka finished third in the top scorers ranking in the Bundesliga, behind Lewandowski and Paco Alcácer. In the Europa League, he finished second, behind Oliver Giroud.

His stats:

    • Bundesliga: 32 games, 17 goals
    • Europa League: 14 games, 10 goals
    • 27 goals in total, on just 18.56 xG, absolutely clinical

And if you think he only scored against the smaller teams, you’re mistaken. That season he scored against Dortmund, Inter, Benfica and in two separate games against Chelsea, just to name a few. 

The Madrid blues

His stay in Madrid, however, was arguably going to be a great success or a huge failure. First off, Luka is not the type of player to blend in easily. He struggled at Benfica and was lucky to run into a bunch of compatriots (Kostić & Gaćinović) and an understanding coach who spoke his language (Niko Kovač) at Eintracht Frankfurt. They made his transition a lot easier.

Secondly, the competition was always going to make this hard. Luka was signed as Benzema’s future replacement, but Benz being Benz only got better with time, like a fine wine. In fact, he’s probably at the peak of his career right now at the age of 34. And with Real hardly ever playing in a two-striker system, the back-up would only ever get scraps.

There is no doubt about it, he should have pushed for a move earlier. At the very latest, during the last winter break.  But the good thing is he still has a lot to offer, with time being on his side. Luka is only 24 years old. If he can find a club with a manager who believes in him and maintain a more focused approach, he can still achieve great things. His skill set is fairly unique in my opinion, as he’s a very complete striker.

Luka Jović’s profile:

  • Two-footed
  • Clinical finisher 
  • Excellent hold-up play & heading ability
  • Great first touch and very good ball control
  • Intelligent movement, particularly late runs into the box
  • Good passer with solid vision
  • Powerful physique & solid pace when completely fit

Now, onto the four teams that I believe could use him and vice versa.

4. Ajax

Right now, Ajax have Sébastien Haller upfront, ironically one of the players Jović had a fantastic connection with at Eintracht. But since the 4-3-3 system is considered holy in Amsterdam, they wouldn’t get the chance to repeat those performances together. With Ten Hag most likely joining Manchester United and Haller having the season of his career, it’s not unthinkable to see him move during the summer. Especially since he’s not your typical Ajax-striker. 

They love their two-footed players and forwards who like to drop deep and get involved in play. A forward is expected to set up others and create space for them as well. This part of Jović’s game is underrated. People see him as a finisher mainly, when he’s more than that. During that 2018/19 season, he had 7 assists and 5 more second assists, which means he was involved in 39 goals total. 

The major advantage for Jović would be guaranteed Champions League football and a domestic league where he could get by with not being at his very best every single week. 

      • How realistic would this move be from 1 to 10? – 6
      • How good would it be for Jović? – 7

    3. AC Milan

    The Italian giants right now have two legendary strikers in their ranks. The great Zlatan Ibrahimović & cult-hero Olivier Giroud. There’s only one problem. One is 40 years old and the other 35. And the Serbian youngster they signed, Marko Lazetić, is at the very least one season away from being ready for occasional playing time. The answer? You guessed it, Luka Jović.

    Stefano Pioli favours a 4-2-3-1 formation and has established himself as one of the most interesting managers in Serie A. His Milan like to press high and overload one side, with the striker joining in, only to make the switch to the other end. They are a young and hungry team, with a good spread in goalscoring, and I believe Jović has the characteristics to become a good replacement for Zlatan. He has the hold-up play, the aerial ability and even the spectacular goals. Volleys, bicycle kicks and more.

    AC Milan are looking to take that last step, not having won the title since 2011. How great would it be if Luka was part of that achievement? Today’s Serie A is also more striker friendly than it was during the defensive heydays, so I’d expect Jović to be successful there.

        • How realistic would this move be? – 9
        • How good would it be for Jović? – 8

    2. Arsenal

    It’s no secret Arsenal are looking for a striker. They went all in for Dušan Vlahović last winter and missed out. But in my opinion, Luka Jović would be a better fit for their style of play. Arteta, much like Ten Hag, likes to play dominant football and with little space to work with, you need a player with excellent ball control, who can shield it when necessary and make intelligent runs into the box. 

    He’s being mentioned in the rumour mill, alongside some high profile names. But as much as Arsenal have progressed, they still aren’t close to the top teams when it comes to allure. That’s why I think they’ll have to settle for their third, fourth or even fifth pick, and I presume Jović is among them. 

    For Luka, the Premier League would be a new experience and a very challenging one. It would probably the hardest move out of the ones listed, but also one that could really put him back on the map as one of Europe’s better strikers. 

        • How realistic would this move be? – 8
        • How good would it be for Jović? – 9

    1. Borussia Dortmund

    It’s obvious Haaland will leave some huge shoes to fill. Even if he hasn’t been at his usual level this season, the Norwegian has put up robotlike numbers since his days at RB Salzburg. Some fans in Serbia think Dortmund would be crazy to sign Jović, but I’ll tell you why it’s not unimaginable. 

    Let’s start with the manager, Marco Rose. Lauded for his time at Borussia Mönchengladbach and a staunch admirer of the 4-4-2 diamond. Dortmund are right now heavily linked to Karim Adeyemi, a very interesting talent, but if Rose wants to create his type of team and play the 4-4-2 diamond, he’ll need at least one more striker. And Jović fits that bill perfectly. He’s one to drop, while Adeyemi likes to attack space. They would compliment each other well.

    Then there’s the fact that Jović had his best period in the Bundesliga and wouldn’t need much time to adapt to the pace and general style of the league. High tempo transition football, with space behind the defensive lines, would suit him to a tee, as he loves to link up and make late runs into the box. 

        • How realistic would this move be? – 7
        • How good would it be for Jović? – 10

    Wherever he goes, the pressure will be huge. One misstep, a few bad games and fans will be all over him.

    Wherever he goes, the pressure will be huge. One misstep, a few bad games and fans will be all over him. There will be many sceptics. But rest assured, if he does get it going, they will turn, just like that. The most important thing is that Luka finds a club where he gets a fair chance and a manager who has faith in him. If that happens, I believe there will come a time when Luka Jović’s name is mentioned with respect once more. He’s far from the first player the Real machinery chewed up and spit out. Luckily, however, there is life after Real.

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