Jovetic the answer to the Paul Scholes problem

Almost six months ago, Fiorentina midfielder Jovetic was linked with a move to Manchester United, following a series of dazzling displays.

Two goals against every United fans least favourite neighbours from up the M62 meant, as Diego Forlan will testify, that he was more than welcome to ply his trade at Old Trafford.

The 20 year-old Montenegrin played down talk of a move away from Florence, insisting that although, United’s interest was flattering he was perfectly happy where he is.

Jovetic stated:

“I read about the transfer stories around me and am honoured by Manchester United’s interest but I am very happy in Florence.

“At Fiorentina I have everything I need to grow and improve as a player. I have a  contract with the Viola for another five years and I have no intention of leaving.”

While that may seem to spell the end of the chance of a summer transfer to sunny Manchester, there’s always the possibility that Jovetic may have been telling his club what they wanted to hear.

After all no official bid had been launched so the transfer talk was just that. Talk.

The first question should be would United even want to sign one of Serie A’s most exciting players, after all that same moniker was attached to a certain Argentinean midfielder almost a decade ago.

Juan Sebastian Veron’s signing for United was one of the few times a real sort-after foreign player near the peak of his powers made the decision to go to Old Trafford. What should have been the icing on the cake for an already successful team turned out to be a near-disaster, I say near because Chelsea had the decency to save United half their loss- oh and Veron played well in the Champions League- occasionally.

Veron was that much of a disappointment Sir Alex Ferguson could be forgiven for never wanting another midfielder from Serie A ever again.

The fact is though, one of United’s biggest problems on the pitch isn’t going to simply go away and if it’s not addressed by next season then a title challenge may not materialise.

Paul Scholes has ceased to be the attacking force he once was for almost five years now, yes he can still pick out a pass and score the odd goal but he’s not someone you can rely on week in week out to produce goals.

Some have touted Darron Gibson as a possible successor and while this would save United a lot of money and bother, I’m not sure he’s anywhere near world-class despite a good goal against Bayern Munich.

United need someone who’s capable of carrying the ball, scoring goals and being a genuine threat against any team and for me Gibson just isn’t quite good enough.

United have an abundance of the same type of player- the holding midfielder. Both Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher can perform in the role, while Owen Hargreaves- if he ever does come back from injury- is one of the best players in that position in the world. What United need is someone to play in-front of the holding midfielder and give Wayne Rooney some much needed support- both in the goal scoring and the genuine-attacking-threat-through-the-middle department as well.

With Nani and Antonio Valencia on the wings United have players that can cause any full-backs a problem but in Carrick, Fletcher, Hargreaves, Scholes Anderson and Gibson there isn’t really a stand-out attacking force who would trouble a lot of defences.

Following the Bayern Munich defeat I claimed United were not that badly off in terms of the squad and that’s an opinion I stand by. However if there is one area where the team does seems to be missing something it is from an attacking central midfielder.

People may say a striker should be Fergie’s priority especially if as seems to be expected at the moment everyone’s favourite headband wearing Bulgarian has finally run out of time at Old Trafford.

The fact is though, if Rooney’s fit then 4-5-1 may well be the formation Fergie favours next season so  signing a striker could well be pointless. Also as I’ve said before Kiko Macheda has impressed me immensely and I feel next season he may well prove he is a genuine United player.

What Chelsea- and even Arsenal have had over United this season is a goalscoring midfielder who can get well into double figures. Cesc Fabregas has stepped up when the Gunners needed him after Robin Van Persie’s injury and if he stays at the Emirates, those two together next season could be title winning attacking force. At Chelsea Frank Lampard still finds himself pointing to the heavens on a regular basis, so much so that Didier Drogba can afford to be rested occasionally and Nicolas Anelka can afford not to turn up now and again.

If United had someone who grabbed as many goals as the aforementioned midfielders then the ribbons currently on the Premier League trophy would be staying on it next month.

Jovetic’s goalscoring record is impressive with 11 goals for his club in all competitions  which if he was at Old Trafford would make him the club’s joint- third top scorer – with own goals.

Of course the other question after whether United need him, is would he go there. Well as usual I’ve got an insightful revelatory answer of: I’ve no idea. Sorry but let’s be honest no-one knows what goes on in the mind of youngsters nowadays let alone Montenegrin youngsters who’ve had a storming season in Serie A. The only way to find out of course is to try and buy him, otherwise he’s never going to simply turn up at Carrington wearing a bib and demanding to be given the chance to play. The fact that Fiorentina are out of contention for a Champion’s League place may be enough to make Jovetic consider his future.

Although he may look a bit like the Neville brother’s ugly sister his goal scoring ability, plus his youth and attacking flair could make him just the sort of player to give United an edge that’s been missing for a few years now, and take just a little bit of the burden off PFA player of the year Wayne Rooney- let’s face it, it’s a foregone conclusion.

Whether Fergie would fork out what would no doubt be a fairly large sum to prize him away from Italy remains doubtful to say the least but I for one, wouldn’t be complaining if he did.

Read more of Justin’s work at his excellent blog ‘Name on the Trophy’

 


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