There has always been uncertainty about the striker situation at Milan this season. The Rossoneri have been struggling for goals and while Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s arrival helped improve that, the Swede won’t stick around forever. Keeping that in mind, links with Real Madrid’s Luka Jovic make a lot of sense.
The club has scored only 28 goals in Serie A this season and that is the fourth-worst attacking record in the whole division. They’ve racked up an XG of 38.59, but the goalscoring issues have seen them underperform the most on it in the league.
That is one thing that just defines all of their goalscoring woes. Krzysztof Piatek was one of the main culprits. Months after a gem of an initial spell at the Rossoneri, Piatek fell off a cliff this season. The Pole underperformed on his XG by over 3.0 and was let go to Hertha Berlin in January.
Milan went short-term and brought Zlatan in. While the Swede has done well to add a new identity to Stefano Pioli’s side, he hasn’t arrived at the club on a short-term deal. The uncertainty around San Siro could well see him depart soon.
Rafael Leao was signed from Lille in the summer. He started off from the left-wing position under Marco Giampaolo and Pioli, but has become more of a second-striker. While he did play as a striker regularly at Lille, but the Portuguese could only score eight goals and is still a young player.
Jovic, on the other hand, came to Real Madrid for big money as a long-term replacement for Karim Benzema. He’s had his time on the pitch stay limited as a result of playing as back-up to the Frenchman. He has scored only two La Liga goals, making many question if he’s worth the money or not.
While a lot of it is down to him not getting a consistent run into the first-team, many feel that his time at the Los Blancos could already be up. That is a bit hypocritical considering he was seen as a long-term option and not a regular from the start. For Milan though, that is a favourable situation.
At Eintracht Frankfurt, Jovic had formed one of Europe’s most potent strike forces with Sebastien Haller and Milan’s own Ante Rebic himself. He was the consistent goalscorer, who had to remain in the box and get at the end of passes to put the ball in the net. He contributed to 22 goals in the Bundesliga and taking three shots per game was key to increasing his output in a possession-based 4-3-1-2 system.
He would play only 18.7 passes per game, as Rebic and Haller would constantly feed him with passes in the final third. His job was to get in the box and score goals. For that, he was praised by Serbia coach Mladen Krstajic.
He said: “He’s a classic goal-getter with great control of the ball and a good understanding of the game. I’d probably compare him to Luis Suarez. He’s courageous and dangerous at any moment because he’s always lying in wait for his chance or any inattention from the opponent.”
That is certainly big praise for anyone, let alone Jovic. It shows that he needs to be in the role of a proper striker who can take as many shots as he wants. He wants a run in the team and has to be as close to the goal as possible. Milan will offer him first-team football.
The XG metric for the Rossoneri might not encourage too many strikers. But if they can fix their issues of creation next season, Jovic could be the striker that elevates them to the next level.