Whether you believe Roberto Mancini that last season’s Premier League title race was largely decided by Manchester United signing Robin Van Persie ahead of Manchester City, or instead mostly blame the Italian for his team’s failings, it is clear that the Dutch forward opting for Old Trafford was an important moment in last season’s transfer window.
This summer the two Manchester sides have largely been focussing on different targets, but they could come to a head once again over Stevan Jovetic, who is expected to leave Fiorentina for around £25million this summer.
Having signed Mario Gomez, who was inexplicably ignored by the Premier League’s best teams, Fiorentina are apparently now happy to move Jovetic on in the next few weeks.
Arsenal and Juventus were the early favourites to sign the Montenegrin, but both appear to have moved on to other targets, and with Real Madrid now apparently focussed on Luis Suarez, the way could be clear for the Manchester teams to fight it out for Jovetic.
Clearly Jovetic is unlikely to have as big an impact as Van Persie did last season, but the 23-year-old is an excellent player who is on the verge of becoming one of the best in Europe after several excellent years in Serie A.
City looked in pole position to land Jovetic, and might hope that United have entered the race too late to sway the Montenegrin. Having sold Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli this year, with Edin Dzeko also likely to leave, City can also offer Jovetic more of a guarantee of starting place, as compared to United, whose stockpile of forwards is unlikely to diminish given David Moyes’ desire to keep Wayne Rooney.
After missing out on Isco, and indeed Van Persie last summer, Manchester City will hope that winning the race for Jovetic will send a clear signal they are going to challenge on all fronts next season. Losing out to Manchester United again would be a heavy blow, and one City can ill afford this summer.
image: © carca