Much has been made about Roma’s lack of depth in midfield, and most of the transfer rumors these days center around fixing the issue. After all, most would say that a solid defensive midfielder is the piece Roma need if they want to consistently finish in the top-four and ultimately challenge for the Scudetto down the road. Ultimately though, Roma isn’t just one piece away from being where they want to be. In addition to that aforementioned defensive midfielder, the Giallorossi are in need of a back-up for Rick Karsdorp, an attacking midfielder to replace Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and someone who can contribute goals and take some of the pressure off Tammy Abraham and Lorenzo Pellegrini, two players who scored the majority of Roma’s goals last season. Aside from a defensive midfielder, I’d argue that an additional goalscorer is probably what Roma needs most if they want to take a leap to the next level.
And that’s where Luka Jović comes in. The Serbian international burst onto the scene during the 2018-2019 season, scoring 27 goals across 46 appearances in all competitions for Eintracht Frankfurt, catching the eye of Real Madrid, who signed him for a reported 60 million euros the following summer on a six- year contract. Firmly behind Karim Benzema in the pecking order, it’s been tough sledding for Jović. Scoring just two goals across 27 appearances in an injury-riddled first campaign, Luka’s sophomore year at Madrid did not fare much better, with the Serbian loaned back to Frankfurt for the second half of the season.
With a third season as a Madrid player under his belt and not much to show for it by way of playing time and goals, it is clear now more than ever that the best solution for player and club is another move away. And while Madrid is not likely to recoup anywhere near the amount they paid for him by selling him, a successful loan spell would enable the player to get some consistent minutes and boost his confidence and his value enough to where Madrid can save some face when they do sell him.
With Abraham firmly entrenched as the starting striker, particularly if Mourinho reverts back to his favored 4-2-3-1 formation, and with Eldor Shomurodov likely sticking around another season, it might not appear as if there’s any room at Roma for Jović, but this is still a move that Pinto should look into.
First, Eldor hasn’t impressed to the point that you’re sold on him as your backup striker. Sure, Roma paid a hefty fee for his services, so it’s worth giving him a shot in his second season at the club, but with Eldor’s ability to play out wide as well, keeping Shomurodov shouldn’t shut the door on Jović entirely, especially because the competition by bringing Luka in will likely force him to raise his game.
Second, should Mourinho ever go back to the two-striker set-up he utilized last season, Jović can slot in right next to Tammy up top, giving Mourinho quite a bit of flexibility with his attacking options — even the tantalizing prospect of playing Nicolo Zaniolo in behind the two strikers with Pellegrini playing in a deeper role in the midfield.
Third, and perhaps the most important benefit to bringing Luke in, would be his championship pedigree. Sure, you may chuckle at that, but we are talking about a La Liga and Champions League winner. He may have played a bit part in those titles won with Madrid, but being around those champions day-in and day-out in the Madrid dressing room is nothing to scoff at. As Francesco Totti recently said, “you need champions in order to win”.
With Fiorentina already reportedly looking to bring in the Serbian on loan, it looks like this will have to be a Malcolm-esque hijack deal for Tiago Pinto, so the clock is already ticking on getting a deal done with Madrid, particularly given Madrid’s good relationship with Fiorentina following Alvaro Odriozola’s loan spell in Florence. But given the flashes of brilliance Jović has shown in his young career thus far, Roma might be the perfect place to help him get his career back on track.