A year ago, Luka Jovic might not have been a name many people outside Frankfurt would have known all that much about – but now, as the season draws to a close, you’d be hard pressed to find many football fans who haven’t heard of him. His outstanding form this season has not only led to a massive increase in profile, but also has Spanish giants Real Madrid knocking at the door looking for his signature.
Hailing from the nation of Serbia, despite having been born in neighbouring Bosnia, Jovic is a 21-year-old striker coming off the back of his best season to date. He’s played for some esteemed European clubs already in his short career, including Red Star Belgrade, Benfica, and of course, Frankfurt.
After spending his entire youth career, from 2005-2014, at Red Star Belgrade, he finally made the first team during the 13/14 season. His time at Red Star was mostly fruitful, becoming the team’s starting forward alongside Henry Vieira within a matter of a year. However, it wasn’t without its challenges – Jovic and his family were threatened by a racketeer in November 2019. The threat was that if Jovic and his family didn’t pay up, they would break his legs. Fortunately, police found and arrested the racketeer almost immediately.
In February 2016, Jovic made his first ever “big move” when he left Serbia and Red Star behind to journey to the Portuguese capital where he would sign for Benfica. As most young Benfica players do, he first had to spend some time in the reserve team, but that didn’t last long. Less than a year after making his debut for the ‘B’ side, he made his debut for the first team in Primeira Liga.
At the start of the 2017/18 season, due to having an abundance of striking options, Benfica sent Jovic out on a two season loan to Bundesliga side, Frankfurt – the German side made sure to have an option to buy clause included in the loan agreement. He would be Frankfurt’s for £6million should they exercise the clause.
His first season in Bundesliga yielded eight goals from 22 appearances in the league – pretty modest. However, it was the form in his second season that brought all the headlines and attention – Jovic bagged 17 goals in 32 appearances in the league. He finished with 27 goals from 48 appearances in all competitions.
After form like that, Frankfurt were never going to turn down the option to sign him on a permanent basis for a measly £6million – although, he may not actually be a Frankfurt player for long.
Despite the fact his permanent transfer to Frankfurt doesn’t officially go through until July 1st, it looks unlikely the Serbian will actually be there next season. Multiple news outlets have been reporting in the last few days that Real Madrid have agreed a deal in excess of £52million to bring him to the Santiago Bernabeu as part of their much needed summer overhaul.
Despite the media reports, Frankfurt chiefs have repeatedly rejected the claims that he is close to move to Spain. After yesterday’s defeat to Bayern Munich, Frankfurt’s director of sport Fredi Bobic told media “It is not agreed just now. There are some talks behind the scenes.” When questioned about specific talks with Madrid, he replied “there are no talks but we know the interest is there (from Real).”