AC Milan took a punt on Luka Jovic by signing him right at the end of the last summer transfer window, but now most fans are calling for him to remain beyond his initial deal.
Jovic’s latest big contribution came on Saturday night at the Stadio Benito Stirpe when he – having come off the bench a minute earlier – turned and fired in the goal that earned Milan all three points in a 3-2 win.
The striker is carving out an increasingly prominent role in Stefano Pioli’s plans and Milan have an option to extend his contract.
It sounds like a simple situation, right? Well, nothing is ever straightforward and there are various things to consider about Jovic’s future as our colleagues at SempreMilan.it relay.
A numbers game
Arriving as almost a last resort on the final day of the 2023 summer mercato, Jovic had a long period of adaptation in which he really struggled for playing time.
However, the short-term pain brought medium-term gain as Pioli began to given him chances which he did not waste. The goals began to flow in December, and he now has seven goals scored in 19 appearances, at an average of one every 103 minutes.
The first came against Frosinone at the beginning of December, then he scored against Atalanta on 9 December, against Salernitana before Christmas, against Udinese at the end of January and against Frosinone two days ago.
To this must be added the brace that he scored against Cagliari in the Coppa Italia to begin the new year, resulting in a total of seven goals plus an assist too.
Not only that, but three of these four goals were decisive. In Salerno the Serbian scored the equaliser, the same against Udinese, and then at the weekend he found the winning goal inside the last ten minutes.
Milan are smiling after signing him on a free transfer from Fiorentina meaning that the only expense is the €2m net per season salary (around €3.8m gross).
Jovic’s contract – like that of Olivier Giroud – will expire at the end of the season. However, the Rossoneri will be able to activate an automatic renewal clause, at the same figures, for another season.
Despite this, it is difficult not to imagine that the striker’s agent Fali Ramadani could knock on Milan’s door to negotiate a new agreement that ties Jovic to the club for more than a season and potentially includes a pay rise given his form.
Luka Jovic has the most goals off the bench of any player in Serie A (4), while Noah Okafor (3) is in joint-second.
— MilanData📊 (@acmilandata) February 5, 2024
Capital gain temptation
Milan have the possibility of extending Jovic’s contract for another season regardless of what happens, an action that would put the management at a crossroads.
From there, they would be free to either negotiate a multi-year renewal at a higher salary figure or potentially even considering a sale during the upcoming summer window.
That may sound surprising, but it must once again be stated that the 26-year-old arrived on a free transfer on the last day of the window but has now seen his valuation grow up to €10-15m, a figure that the management could also decide to cash in to increase funds for other signings.
To date, however, the simultaneous expiration of Olivier Giroud and Jovic’s worries scares the management who might all of a sudden need to sign two or three strikers.
A promotion of Francesco Camarda to the first team on a full-time basis still appears premature, as does the idea of Lorenzo Colombo playing a big role, so letting both go seems unlikely.
More Jovic than Giroud
As mentioned, Giroud’s deal will also expire next June. The French striker receives a salary double that of the Serbian and given he is 37 years of age, he remains a very productive player in terms of numbers but not somebody to keep building around.
Precisely for this reason, to date Milan do not seem willing to offer Giroud a new deal, also due to the offers coming from the MLS which seem to fascinate the French centre-forward quite a bit.
On the other hand, Jovic has really gone through a resurgence in his first season with the Rossoneri and given that he turned 26 three months ago he is much more in line with a multi-year project.
Giroud’s farewell will be a reluctant one for the leadership and for the fans, especially when considering he now has 20 goal contributions in the league this season.
What might make up for it is the arrival of another striker who will join Jovic next season. There are several names currently on the list of Geoffrey Moncada and Antonio D’Ottavio, as per reports.