Could it happen? The thought of it sends a tingle down the spine and that is rare for any transfer rumour. There are many who will argue that Stevan Jovetic’s time in Florence was flawed, but there is evidence to argue against this too. The Montenegrin was sublime at times and is a player who really could get you off your seat, a forward who was captivating, brilliant but yes, okay, frustrating at times also. If he did come back to the Stadio Artemio Franchi, there are also arguments that he wouldn’t be the same player, as injuries have taken their toll, but he would still be worth watching.
“I really hope that I can because Florence is a second home for me and will always be an option. It’s one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and I was very happy there for five years.” Jovetic was talking to his former teammate Sebastien Frey on Instagram Live chat and he was certainly reminiscing about the happiest time in his career. The 30-year-old currently plays at Monaco and declared on the same forum that he would like to play until he is 38, if his body can cope.
He certainly is a player who splits opinion, as many will look at his goal ratio and question his value because of this. At Fiorentina for instance, where he played 116 games, he only netted 35 times. With his talent, he should have returned more, but Jovetic wasn’t just about goals, he was more than that. He has been unlucky with injuries, that is true, but when he is in full flight then he is breath-taking.
Jo-Jo was compared to Roberto Baggio when he first arrived in Florence, due to the fact that he enjoyed starting moved from deep and taking on defenders. He is multi-faceted and can be deployed as a winger, a striker or a trequartista and it is in the latter position that he is arguably at his best. He has pace, superb control, his poise on the ball and creativity are also to be admired, and whilst he may not get on the score-sheet enough, the goals he does score are testament to his fantastic technical ability.
I very rarely write in the first person but for this, I will, as it recalls a memory. Perhaps my ideas on football are flawed and rather than look simply on statistics I would rather revel in old footage of Alvaro Recoba. We are all different. It was Stevan Jovetic’s ability to create and deliver a ‘golazzo’ that prompted me to take the trip to Novara’s Silvio Piola Stadium on a sunny January day in 2012, specifically to watch Jo-Jo. Well, that is almost true, I had been in Italy mainly to witness Inter’s 5-0 demolition of Parma the night before and the Novara jaunt also was to see the stadium too, but mostly it was for Jovetic.
On that day, Serie A saw the best of him. One minute there were shades of Baggio, then Dennis Bergkamp, but mostly just a happy Jovetic at the top of his game. He played with a smile, like a kid in a park, and was hacked down in the box during a mazy dribble 20 minutes in. He confidently stepped up and calmly despatched his spot kick. Throughout the game, he was playing Novara off the pitch and Fiorentina were in cruise control going 2-0 up after a blissful chip from Riccardo Montolivo.
Another teammate (also arguably flawed but brilliant) was Adem Ljajic. He was also having a phenomenal game and it was his cross, on the 49th minute, that fell to Jo-Jo. His technique on the volley that put Fiorentina 3-0 up was the work of a master craftsman and, in my mind, settled the debate of unfulfilled talent or creative genius.
Who knows if Jovetic will ever return to Italy? If he can stay injury free when the pandemic is over and continue his good form for Monaco, then maybe he will turn heads again. He has scored 11 goals in 29 games in Ligue 1 and is impressing. If he does end up on Italian shores again, there is one thing for certain, I for one will be buying a ticket.