Dejan Joveljic: Who is Eintracht Frankfurt's successor to Luka Jovic?
A young, Serbian, two-footed striker at Eintracht Frankfurt? No, it's not recent Real Madrid signing Luka Jovic, but we could soon be talking about his successor at the Commerzbank Arena, Dejan Joveljic, in similar terms…
Club: Eintracht Frankfurt
Country: Serbia (U21 cap)
Joveljic was born in Bijeljina, now in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in 1999, and made the two-hour journey east to Belgrade at the age of 10, when he signed with Red Star's youth academy. He raced through the underage teams in the Serbian capital, making his senior debut in a 3-0 win over Borac Cacak in December 2017 just four months past his 18th birthday. Joveljic's first-team career might even have started earlier had glandular fever not derailed his progress in 2016, when he was first invited to train with the big boys.
Previously tagged by the Guardian as one of the top 60 young talents in world football to keep an eye on, Joveljic made good on his potential once his health allowed. Three goals in four starts in the 2017/18 campaign hinted at the agile 5'9"-tall forward's promise, and he added eight more in 17 league games - nine of them starts - last term. His goals came in at an extremely healthy rate of every 96 minutes he played.
Plays a bit like: Luka Jovic
There must be something in the water in Bijeljina. An agricultural centre near the modern-day border between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia, in recent years the town has produced Serbia international strikers almost as prolifically as the wheat and corn they are famous for.
Jovic also hails from Bijeljina, as did Savo Milosevic before him. Comparing Joveljic to Jovic is almost too easy, but they share more than just a hometown and the same Bundesliga club on their CV. Of Jovic's 17 league goals last season, eight were scored with his right foot, six with his left and three with his head. Joveljic is similarly ambidextrous, and is set to slot straight into Die Adler's favoured front three alongside Sebastien Haller and Ante Rebic next term.
Watch: Jovic scoring goals left and right...
Did you know?
Joveljic is not just a whiz at the beautiful game. The 19-year-old likes to spend his spare time playing chess and billiards, whilst he has been known to complete a Rubik's Cube in just 39 seconds. How quickly he works out Bundesliga defences remains to be seen, but the omens are good.
What they're saying
"I went to Marakana [Red Star's Rajko Mitic Stadium] with a youth team from Bijeljina. We played a friendly and straight after [youth team coach] Tomislav Milicevic came up to me and said he wanted to sign me. I was in shock." - Joveljic on moving to Red Star Belgrade in his youth
"Compared to Inter's Mauro Icardi, the striker is a very mobile and lethal finisher… Joveljic can also play on the wing and has scored nine goals in his 14 appearances for Serbia's Under-17s. His senior debut for Red Star is just a matter of time." - Guardian Football, predicting big things for Joveljic in 2016
"Dejan's a very good centre forward who's versatile and also able to play as a wide attacker. Obviously, he's still young and still has things to learn, but we're very optimistic that he'll settle quickly here in Frankfurt." - Frankfurt sporting director Fredi Bobic
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