There’s a young kid tearing up the Bundesliga this season.
No, not Jadon Sancho, you’re probably familiar enough with his exploits for Borussia Dortmund already.
21-year-old Luka Jovic is currently the only man standing between Robert Lewandowski and a fourth top scorer cannon.
The young Serb has scored 14 goals from 15 starts in the Bundesliga this season.
He is the unexpected star of Eintracht Frankfurt’s front three, which also includes highly-rated Croatian Ante Rebic and Sebastian Haller, who has 11 league goals himself this campaign.
Jovic is on loan from Benfica, where he hardly kicked a ball for the first team after signing from Red Star Belgrade in 2016.
At 16 years old he became the youngest goalscorer in the Serbian club’s history when he netted two minutes into his professional debut.
His progression stalled in Portugal but has accelerated ever since his temporary switch to Frankfurt.
Last season he established himself as a super sub, proving himself to be an effective menace in the last half hour of games for Niko Kovac.
Jovic was promoted to the first team in the first month of the current campaign and has repaid new manager Adi Hutter’s faith several times over.
He alerted the world’s media to his talent in October when he scored five goals in 46 minutes against Fortuna Dusseldorf — Lewandowski behaviour, you might say.
This headline-grabbing performance penned his name into German football history as the youngest player to score five goals in one game.
Jovic’s form hasn’t been limited to domestic fixtures.
He’s averaging a goal every 53 minutes in the Europa League this season having enjoyed life against Marseille, Apollon Limassol and Lazio in the group stages.
Frankfurt face Champions League dropouts Shakhtar Donetsk in the round of 32 — another chance for Jovic to impress Barcelona’s scouts.
Barca new boy Kevin-Prince Boateng was also at Frankfurt last season and has been very complimentary of Jovic in the past.
“I have seen him play every day and can therefore say that he can become a world-class striker,” he told Sport Bild.
“He has football in his genes, he’s a street footballer, and he has a nose for goal. He scores with his head, right or left foot.
“He is technically good and can shoot well with both feet. He just has everything a striker needs.”
Barcelona recruited Boateng to provide cover for Luis Suarez with the prolific Uruguayan beginning to show the strains of his 32 years.
The Catalan giants are reportedly in the market for Suarez’s long-term replacement with Jovic present on their shortlist.
His style suits Barca’s approach too.
Keen to contribute to build-up from deep, he performs lay-offs to runners and passes to team-mates in better positions.
Yet he is also a good header of the ball, despite his relatively modest height.
However, Jovic’s finishing remains his strongest attribute, no bad thing for someone touted as a possible heir to Suarez’s throne.
As well as Lewandowski’s pursuit, the Serbia international is holding off challenges from Marco Reus, Timo Werner and former Barcelona striker Paco Alcacer in the race to be crowned the Bundesliga’s best marksman.
Whatever the outcome, Frankfurt and Benfica will do well to keep hold of a budding talent who is no longer a secret.
- Man City have mastered the devilishly difficult art of scoring open goals
- From Lionel Messi’s natural heir to Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow
- Aaron Wan-Bissaka is the best tackler in Europe and the best right-back in the Premier League