Former Manchester City forward Stevan Jovetic has endured many peaks and troughs already in his short Inter Milan career to date, but his ability to succeed at the highest level is undoubted.
Jovetic flourished at Fiorentina during his previous spell in Serie A, which encompassed a five-year period from 2008 onwards.
Able to operate in various positions through the middle and out wide, the Montenegrin hit double figures on the scoring charts in three of his five terms spent with La Viola.
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That impressive form materialised despite Jovetic having suffered a serious cruciate knee ligament injury which ruled him out of action for the entire 2010-11 season.
He bounced back with 27 goals over the following two Serie A seasons, which earned him a lucrative move to the English Premier League with Manchester City.
His stint at City was punctuated by long spells on the periphery of the starting line-up, which meant that Jovetic posted just 11 league starts across two campaigns in England.
Even so, there were intermittent exhibitions of his talent when he struck eight goals in Premier League action, whilst claiming four assists along the way.
Lightning pace, mazy close-control and unerring ability to find the back of the net from various angles were all in stark evidence when he was at least offered an opportunity to contribute, but all of that still didn't prove enough to secure a regular spot.
The writing was on the wall last summer when attacking reinforcements Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling were drafted in during the transfer window, plus Wilfried Bony had usurped Jovetic as the main reserve option for Sergio Aguero up-front a few months prior.
His chances were certain to be severely limited, probably even more so than before, and therefore it was time to move on when an intriguing proposal from his former league Serie A surfaced.
RETURN TO ITALY
Roberto Mancini, who’d been sacked by Manchester City shortly before Jovetic's arrival at the Etihad Stadium, enticed him to join Inter on an 18-month loan with a compulsory purchase agreement attached to the deal.
The season started brightly for the attacker, as he plundered all three of his team’s goals within an opening two appearances that delivered narrow victories over Atalanta and Carpi.
However, he didn’t notch again until December, and has found himself in and out of the side as a result of his partnership with Argentine centre forward Mauro Icardi failing to gel.
There were rumours of dressing-room unrest between a group of players – including Jovetic – and coach Mancini after a 2-1 home loss to Lazio on December 20, which reportedly resulted in fines for those involved.
Though this was later disputed by differing accounts of the incident, it still cast a widening shadow over the 26-year-old’s potential to remain at the club long-term.
Speculation then mounted further when Jovetic posted a picture of an open door on social media in mid-January, which was seen by many observers to be a signal of his intention to leave the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.
Media outlet Sport Italia had also been leading with the line that the Nerazzurri wanted to dispense with his services around the same period of time, so his unwelcome decision to go public with that mysterious message only helped to fan those burgeoning flames.
But, like all good players should, he eventually found a way to do his talking on the pitch by way of a stunning effort in Inter’s 2-0 Coppa Italia quarter-final triumph over Napoli.
Inter had been under pressure from their hosts at the time, but a quick breakaway ended with Jovetic placing a 25-yard strike expertly beyond helpless goalkeeper Pepe Reina to put Mancini’s men in control of the tie.
It was the perfect response to his growing number of doubters, and puts him firmly in the frame for an increased level of first-team involvement over the coming weeks and months.
And, as Inter are the lowest goalscorers within Serie A’s top-six positions, perhaps it’s time to give his strike-pairing with Icardi an extended run.
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