Although Luis Suarez hasn’t yet been put out to pasture, the passage of time is beginning to catch up with the Uruguayan, and it’s obvious to just about everyone that the 32-year-old could benefit from a rest now and then.
The problem has been that those players who’ve replaced him on the odd occasion - Paco Alcacer and Munir spring readily to mind - either weren’t good enough or weren’t prepared to play second fiddle.
Now Eintracht Frankfurt’s Luka Jovic has been touted as the next striker to try his luck. Roll up, roll up, step right this way...
According to reports, Luka Jovic (21) will be a FC Barcelona player next season. Few things about his game:— Half-space (@SpaceHalf) March 20, 2019
- excellent movement in the box
- very good at distancing himself from defenders in crossing situations
- calm & stone cold finisher pic.twitter.com/D7ANLqOxwQ
So, what do we know about the 21-year-old marksman?
Well, the Serb came to prominence last October when he became the youngest player ever to score five goals in the Bundesliga, Hoffenheim the unlucky opponents on the day.
More recently, he scored the only goal against Internazionale to send his side through to the last eight of the Europa League where they’ll face Benfica - the club Jovic is on loan from.
He also found the net with an outstanding header for Serbia against Germany on Wednesday night, his first for his country.
Benfica vs Frankfurt— COPA90 (@COPA90) March 15, 2019
The Luka Jovic derby pic.twitter.com/xljPODCbUB
Eintracht had seen enough some time ago and had agreed to sign him permanently at the end of the current campaign, though if a decent offer comes in, they will allow him to move on.
It’s been alleged that Barca are ready to table a €50 million bid in order to acquire his services, after having extensively scouted him.
In terms of playing style, there’s lots to admire and certain aspects of his game mirror that of El Pistolero.
Serbia coach Mladen Krstajic on Luka Jovic: “He’s a classic goal-getter with great control of the ball and a good understanding of the game. I’d probably compare him to Luis Suarez.” pic.twitter.com/w9L3DYpUEn— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) March 19, 2019
For a start, he has incredible upper body strength and is extremely difficult to get off of the ball once in possession.
He’s able to score just about every type of goal, and is also adept aerially, providing a potential extra threat for the Blaugranes at set pieces.
An intelligent player, his movement, particularly in and around the box.
Sport claiming that Eintracht Frankfurt are looking for €46m for Luka Jovic amid interest from Barcelona, Chelsea, and Man City. Far too low a figure for one of the best young strikers in the world. #SGE #FCB #CFC #MCFC— Ronan Murphy (@swearimnotpaul) March 15, 2019
His goalscoring output this season has been outstanding, and in that respect, he’s only behind Kylian Mbappe in the rankings for players in the top five European leagues that are 21 or under.
Signing for Barca would be a big step up, but on current form he looks ready to test himself against some of the best players on the continent.
This is the striker I need at my club, a wonderful bullet header from Luka Jović against Neuer. Bartomeu please just don’t let us down and sign this beast.— madan (@EnjoyArthur) March 20, 2019
Perhaps his biggest asset, like Suarez, is that he’s so single minded when a goalscoring chance presents itself - and he rarely fails to hit the target.
Based on his form to this point, as long as Barca can find the funds to afford him, then they need look no further for their new No.9.