Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Jovetic's versatility makes him a "perfect fit" for Arsenal

As Arsenal gear up for what looks to be the first summer in far too long that they aren’t forced to sell a key player to a rival (or Barcelona) – and that’s not saying they won’t do it anyway – it’s refreshing to be able to look at some of the players who may be coming the other way for once.

One such player is Stevan Jovetic. The Montegrin winger/forward/midfielder/playmaker is wanted by several top clubs over Europe, including Juventus and Manchester City but seems the perfect fit for an Arsenal side in need of cover for several positions, having played all across the front line in his time at Fiorentina.

Interestingly, given the progress of Theo Walcott (who scored 14 goals and added 10 assists in the Premier League this season), Jovetic has largely been used as part of a compact front three for Fiorentina this season, but is more than capable of playing behind the striker on indeed on the wing. 

At 23, he is probably still trying to find his best position (Walcott, at 24, certainly still is) and perhaps Arséne Wenger –responsible for the transformation of Thierry Henry and Robin van Persie – is the man to help him before he trots off to Bayern Munich in three years’ time.

Looking at Arsenal’s current striking options – given Lukas Podolski’s ability, and Walcott’s desire, to play there – it is understandable that Wenger should go for a player comfortable on the wing. 

And given Gervinho’s possible departure this summer it does not seem unrealistic to suggest this is the boss’ desired replacement for the Ivorian. 

More in the mould of Samir Nasri or Robert Pires than Gervinho or Andrei ArshavinJovetic has shown his ability to pass the ball rather than just run with it over the past two seasons with the Viola. 

With an average of 1.4 long passes per game, and an attempted 34 through balls in 31 games this season, he is clearly capable of playing the deeper role of the two wingers at Arsenal.

If this is what Wenger has in mind, it would likely be an interesting return to the system used in Nasri’s first two seasons at the club; with one ‘inverted winger’ on the left and Walcott – acting more as a forward – on the other side.


Alternatively, Jovetic’s versatility in all areas suggests he could be used a ‘number 10’, more in the mould of Van Persie. This would present an interesting strike-force consisting, presumably, of Jovetic, Walcott and Podolski - with all three interchanging and offering a different threat.  

Jovetic’s 13 Serie A goals this season show he has the goalscoring brain for it, and it would be the system most similar to the one he is used in at the moment.

However, again, Jovetic is clearly still getting used to the position and his relatively low tally of five assists – fewer than both Walcott and Podolski (while Olivier Giroud has seven in all competitions) – would need working on. 

Given the improvement of Aaron Ramsey and the ability of Santi Cazorla, it’s unlikely he’ll be used as a pure ‘10’ behind the striker and more unlikely still that Arsene Wenger will give into his critics and revert to a 4-4-2 system with Jovetic leading the line along with A N Other, so the two above mentioned roles seem the only possibility.

Of course Arsenal may not get their wish at all; Fiorentina’s late surge in Serie A meant they finished 4th (just two points away from Champions League qualification) and, like Gareth Bale, he may want to stay and help his side reach their goal. 

However, if Jovetic does leave, Fiorentina won’t exactly jump through hoops for a league rival and Arsenal may be his current club’s preference – providing Man City don’t get involved and start a bidding war, that is.

All statistics courtesy of OPTA, via

Joss Bennett is head writer at

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