Few clubs have mastered the transfer market like Benfica in recent years.
The sales of Angel Di Maria, David Luiz, Renato Sanches and co. have officially made the Portuguese giants the most profitable club in Europe in the last decade.
But they’ve let one slip precariously through their fingers.
It’s not that Luka Jovic never scored for Benfica – he was never really on the scene in the first place.
Many will be unaware that the season’s Bundesliga success story is still technically a Benfica player, loaned to Eintracht Frankfurt after just four appearances in Portugal.
He hasn’t looked back.
Just last summer Transfermarkt valued the 21-year-old diamond in the rough at no more than €2m.
Fast forward eight months and 21 goals and the Bundesliga joint top scorer’s asking price has ballooned exponentially to over 20 times that.
Benfica, for once, won’t be the beneficiaries.
Earlier this week, Frankfurt sporting director Fredi Bobic revealed to Sky90 the club had exercised their option to buy Jovic for just over £5m.
“It (the purchase option) is below €7 million. That’s a good deal,” Bobic said.
“What do I know? [his estimated worth now] We’ll see. The sums on the transfer market are hardly tangible.”
One thing is for sure; Frankfurt have pulled off one of the smartest deals in recent times.
Not only was Jovic a bargain last summer, the presence of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Chelsea lurking in the wings will only inflate his valuation even further.
We’re talking about a £50m, £60m… maybe even £70m player. Just like that.
Barca are desperate to identify an heir to the fading Luis Suarez, Gonzalo Higuain is only on loan at Stamford Bridge and, well, Bayern find a way to seduce every Bundesliga talent, don’t they?
Either way, Frankfurt could stand firm and retain their prized asset or let him leave for a monumental profit this summer.
Jovic’s meteoric rise vindicates Bobic’s transfer policy of offering second chances to young protegees who have lost their way a bit. See Ante Rebic as another prime example.
Jovic has established a formidable partnership with Sebastian Haller and their 39 goals in all competitions make them the deadliest duo in Europe this season.
The Serb is a tank. The spawn of Diego Costa and Hulk. A ruthless bully as prolific aerially as he is with either foot.
How Benfica failed to recognise any of these traits is a bit of a mystery.
Some argue that retaining his services could have blocked the progress of their new poster boy Joao Felix. Ifs and buts.
Their loss and ignorance is Frankfurt’s gain, laughing all the way to the Deutsche bank.
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