Real Madrid is trying to force Luka Jovic into requesting a transfer

Real Madrid, Luka Jovic (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Luka Jovic (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Luka Jovic is a neglected man at Real Madrid. Despite the club investing 60 million euros in a man who starred for Eintracht Frankfurt during the 2018/19 season when they were Europa League semifinalists, it seems as if Los Blancos now want nothing to do with Jovic.

One of the most promising strikers in the world when he joined Madrid, Jovic is now 24 and can still give a lot to a team. There is room for him to grow, and he has even shown flashes of greatness in Madrid with game-winning backheel assists and crucial displays against notable sides like Real Sociedad and Atletico Madrid.

But it is increasingly obvious that the next chapter of his career will be written outside the Santiago Bernabeu. Cynically, it seems as if Real Madrid are pushing to make sure that happens, as Jovic is one of the few sellable assets whom they can use to recover funds to sign players. He is also on high wages, and Real seem to be prioritizing clearing their wage bill. As they should.

The first sign is Jovic’s treatment. He barely plays. It must be said that his inconsistency does not help his case, but it is worth noting that in addition to his big games against La Real and Atleti, he was a positive off the bench in a narrow win over Granada.

Real Madrid signed a striker who never fit them in the first place

However, Real Madrid have no interest in building on that. Carlo Ancelotti does not have him in his rotation – not even off the bench. If Karim Benzema is injured, he now prefers to sub in Mariano Diaz or, worse, experiment with Luka Modric as a false nine.

Jovic has one goal and two assists this season, but he has not even played 300 minutes in LaLiga. He only spent half of his second season with Real Madrid, and did not even play 500 minutes in his first season from Eintracht. This season, he has never started a match in LaLiga, playing more than 45 minutes only when Karim was injured early vs. La Real. (His best game of the season, mind you, which came in the second half after a rough adjustment period in the first half…that should also tell you something.)

But I get it. Jovic is slower, more static, and does not provide the pressing or active creativity Real Madrid want from their 9. It is not that he is incapable of creating chances, but he is more subtle in how he plays. Real Madrid, of course, do not want subtlety. They want someone closer to Karim Benzema or someone who is more of a killer in front of goal. Like their dream man, Erling Haaland.

Jovic has to go for them to get Haaland. But even if they don’t get Haaland, it seems like they will go back to Zinedine Zidane’s preference, Borja Mayoral, whose 2020/21 season at Roma and current form at Getafe could lead them to go with him as the cheap option. Madridistas, of course, will bang the drum for a Raul de Tomas reunion. Astute fans will even point to Nice’s Amine Gouiri.

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All the while, the Merengues are upping the pressure on Jovic with negative leaks, as they try to force him out the door. It could get ugly. There will be suitors for Jovic. He is too talented not to get another chance, and Real Madrid are taking advantage of that. They want the transfer fee, they want to move on from his wages, and they want him to be the one to ask to leave so they are not in a Mariano situation. And in the end, I cannot help but wonder if this ill-advised signing in 2019 wasted three years of a young man’s career.