It is official, the cat is out of the bag, Stevan Jovetic wants Juventus and he has gone on record saying so. Jorid's favorite newspaper, Gazzetta dello Sport, published an interview with Jovetic in which the Montenegrin didn't hold back much. Here are a few excepts in Italian with translations:
Saym Stevan, is it time to leave?
"Perchè è arrivato il momento di andare via? Sono alla Fiorentina dal 2008, cinque stagioni intensissime. Sento davvero di aver dato tutto, di non avere altro da offrire e trasmettere agli altri. Sono giovane e ambizioso, è normale che possa sentire il bisogno di misurarmi altrove. Non credo ci sia nulla di male nel desiderarlo, e non faccio come altri che fanno casino dietro e poi non si espongono. Firenze e i tifosi viola mi hanno sempre chiesto di metterci la faccia: eccola. Ho bisogno di stimoli altrove, ho bisogno di consacrarmi in un top club. La Fiorentina mi ha portato a partecipare in Europa, ora in Europa vorrei provare a vincere."
Why is it time to leave? I have been at Fiorentina since 2008, five intense seasons. I truly feel I have given everything and that I don't have anything else to offer or to transmit to others. I am young, ambitious and it is normal that I would feel the need to challenge myself elsewhere. I don't think there is anything wrong to want this... I am in need of other challenges, I want to reach the top AT A TOP CLUB. Fiorentina allowed me to participate in Europe, now I want to try to win in Europe.
What about the release clause?
"Trenta milioni è la mia reale valutazione? Non tocca certo a me darmi un prezzo. Io so solo che il presidente, l’estate scorsa, nel ritiro di Moena, mi disse di restare un altro anno e che alla fine della stagione, cioè ora, sarei stato agevolato se avessi voluto andar via. Se mi sento agevolato? In parte. La valutazione dei trenta milioni non lo è. C’è già una clausola scritta che stabilisce che con trenta milioni possa liberarmi. Mi vengono incontro, semmai, quando non mi si pone limiti di scelta."
It is not up to me to give me a price. All I know is that last year, last summer, during the ritiro at Moena, the president told me to stay another year, and that at the end of the season I will be allowed to leave if I want to.
(Note: This should read more like they will facilitate my transfer should I want one.)
Do I feel allowed? Partly. The €30 million value is contrary to that. There is a written clause that says that with 30m I could go wherever. I would feel allowed when they don't limit my choices. /sorry, translation is not that faithful to the true text on this one but the gist is right, any fluent Italian speakers are welcome to correct me in the comments section/
What about Juventus?
"Della Valle ha detto che ormai considera la Juventus come le altre pretendenti? Da un anno mi cercano, dicono che vogliono me, che nella loro lista vengo prima di Ibra, Tevez e Higuain. Chi non sarebbe lusingato? Io lo sono, e non credo sia un tradimento ammetterlo"
... Juve have been looking at me for a year, I am top of their list ahead of Ibra, Tevez or Higuain. Who wouldn't be flattered? I am flattered, and I don't believe it would be a betrayal to admit it.
You get the drift. He goes on to say that he will continue to grow with Antonio Conte. He admits that he has some offers from other countries, but it appears his eyes are only for Juventus. It is worth noting that he never flat out says that he wants to move to Juventus. However, if you read between the lines, it is clear that this is the intention of the interview.
Fiorentina's response to Jovetic's outburst didn't take long. The Viola have reportedly fined the player for giving an unapproved interview. Moreover, Della Valle is reportedly furious and understandably so. Do I care? Not in the slightest.
But what does this mean for Juventus, or more importantly, what does this mean for Fiorentina?
When a player comes out with an interview like this, it generally means trouble for the owning club. When the player in question is one that has been as professional with Fiorentina as Jovetic has been, it really means a lot of trouble. Jovetic has said his goodbyes. He wants to cut the ties while appearing professional. Instead the result is that he is burning bridges with management and tifosi alike. Don't believe me, check out the Viola blog. Although they are not as angry as I thought they would be, they have given up on keeping him next season.
There is also a huge problem with keeping a player against his will. I have no doubt that if Jovetic stays with Fiorentina one more year, he will be as professional as possible. With that being said, I am sure he won't play with that fire in his belly that can make him fun to watch. The result is that Jovetic's price is likely to continue to decrease the longer he stays with the club. Does Fiorentina want to risk that? I don't think so.
The other issue is his reported verbal agreement with Della Valle last year. His statement says that the club gave him their word, and now they appear to be backing away from it. That section of the interview — the one about him not having a choice — makes Fiorentina sound petty and childish. Add to that the fine, and what you get is a "Players Beware" situation.
The reason why I bring this up is that there is a certain Adem Ljajic who plays an important role in all of this. Ljajic has the same agent as Jovetic. However, unlike Jovetic, Ljajic's contract expires next summer. I am sure that Ljajic is carefully seeing what is happening to Jovetic before signing an extension with the Viola. If Fiorentina want to keep the 21-year-old Serbian after 2014, they will do well to make Jovetic happy. In the end, Ljajic is his own man, and he will do what he wants, but it is undeniable that his agent will be whispering in his ear every chance he gets.
I have grown accustomed to watching, and enjoying, Jovetic's assists for Fiorentina over the years. Imagine my surprise when I saw Jovetic, still wearing a Viola T-shirt, setup Beppe Marotta clear on goal. Let's just hope our sporting director is more Trezeguet and less Amauri when he has to pull the trigger. The Bianconeri world is watching.