3 Real Madrid stars impacted by the potential arrival of Luka Jovic
As reported by AS on Wednesday, Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid already have a €60 million agreement in place with Eintracht Frankfurt to secure the services of Serbian striker Luka Jovic with the announcement kept in abeyance till next week so that the player could focus on Saturday's final Bundesliga fixture against Bayern Munich.
Adi Hutter's men, who were vying for a fourth-place finish and Champions League qualification for next season, went down 5-1 to Bayern Munich. who won their 8th successive Bundesliga title. Kingsley Coman, David Alaba and Renato Sanches scored for the Bavarians along with club legends Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, who fittingly bid adieu in their final league game with Bayern Munich with a goal each.
Jovic has been on the radar of top European clubs since he burst into the limelight this season, becoming the second top scorer in the Bundesliga with 17 goals, only behind Bayern's Robert Lewandowski who finished with 22.
The pacy 21-year-old also leads the goalscoring charts in the UEFA Europa League with ten goals, along with Chelsea's Olivier Giroud. The Serbian hitman was the driving force behind Frankfurt's dream run in the Europa League, where they reached the semifinals, only to go down in the penalty shootout against English heavyweights Chelsea after the tie had finished 2-2.
Jovic is a full Serbian international but made only a single substitute appearance at the 2018 FIFA World Cup as the preferred first choice striker then, was Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrovic. After having come throught the youth academy of Red Star Belgrade, Jovic joined Portuguese heavyweights Benfica in 2016 but was unable to break into the first team. He was sent out on loan at Frankfurt in 2017 and scored 8 goals in the 2017-18 Bundesliga season. He hit peak form in the 2018-19 season, with his 17 goals forcing Frankfurt to trigger a clause in his loan agreement and sign him on a permanent basis in April 2019.
His arrival at the Bernabeu will affect the chances of a few in current Real squad, who must be nervously looking over their shoulders, at the prospect of the youngster's introduction in a Los Blancos shirt.
We take a look at three such players.
#3 Mariano Diaz
25-year-old Dominican Republic international Mariano Diaz has largely been a bit-part player at the Santiago Bernebeu. After joining the Real Madrid youth set-up as an 18-year-old in 2011, he was promoted to the Real Madrid Castilla in 2014.
After topping the scoring charts with 25 goals in the Spanish 3rd tier in the 2015-16, Zidane promoted the pacy goalscorer to the senior team in August 2016, with him making his senior debut in a 2–1 win over Celta de Vigo, replacing Álvaro Morata.
Since then, he has largely been confined to a bench role, scoring only 1 goal in 8 games and was sold to Lyon in the 2017-18 season.
An impressive 18 goals in 32 starts for the French side saw him being re-signed by Real Madrid, as Los Blancos used their buy-back clause to bring the Brazilian back to the Bernabeu,as an understudy to main striker Karim Benzema for the 2018-19 season, especially since Cristiano Ronaldo had moved to Italian Champions Juventus.
The Spain-born Dominican striker, however, had an underwhelming season, netting only 3 goals, starting only 3 games in La Liga with Benzema being the preferred choice for all of Julen Lopetegui, Santiago Solari and Zidane. Playing just 441 minutes in La Liga this season, his average of 147 minutes per goal means he most definitely will be loaned out or offloaded if the transfer of Jovic is confirmed.