With a few million Euros burning a hole in their pocket and big gap in their forward line to fill, Eintracht Frankfurt sporting director Fredi Bobic and chief scout Ben Manga have a real task on their hands to replace Real Madrid-bound striker Luka Jovic.
Bobic has intimated that not all the cash will be splashed on a forward and the player coming in doesn’t necessarily have to be a like-for-like replacement for Jovic. So just who are the candidates to succeed the free-scoring Serb?
With Jovic joining Real, it could well be that Eintracht raid the Spanish giants for a replacement. The 25-year-old Dominican Republic international signed for Los Blancos last summer from French side Lyon for €21.5 million but struggled for first-team action making just 13 appearances with just three of those coming as a starter.
The player himself has however stated his intention to remain in the Spanish capital and fight for his place despite clearly being behind Karim Benzema and Luka Jovic in the pecking order.
“This is my team” he recently told Marca. “My idea is to continue in Madrid, in my team. I want to show what I came here to do. I fought hard to get to Real Madrid and now that I am here, I will try to do my best to play in the best team in the world.”
The chances therefore look slim for the Adler, especially when you consider a deal would probably have been done as part of the initial Jovic transfer. Reports from Spain also indicate Valencia are tracking the situation.
Pedro Ruiz Delgado
Another candidate from the ranks of Real Madrid is 19-year-old Pedro Ruiz, wo has made quite an impression in the club’s youth teams. After joining from Real Betis in 2015, he hit 21 goals this season, but sees his future away from the Bernabeu with competition for first-team action red hot.
The 1m 96 striker has been favourably compared to a young Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He holds the ball up well, has a good touch and is adept at bringing others into play.
Eintracht could sign him on loan or on a permanent deal which allows Real a buy-back option. The two clubs have a good relationship with Jesus Vallejo involved in a similar deal in 2016-17.
The Spanish giants were impressed then with the player’s development at Frankfurt and could be open to another deal involving Ruiz.
It could be a case of one Serb out, one Serb in for the Adler as Red Star Belgrade youngster Dejan Joveljić is being linked with a summer move to the Commerzbank Arena.
The 19-year-old could be bought for as little as €10 million and the fact that his agent also represents Ante Rebic, Filip Kostic and Mijat Gacinovic could well be a decisive factor.
The young striker, who is also being tracked by VfL Wolfsburg, Hoffenheim and Mainz, scored 11 goals for Red Star last season in just 1021 minutes of action (a goal every 92 minutes). Joveljić has also been capped three times by the Serbian U-21 national side.
Fredi Bobic may well be turning his attention to Scotland in his quest to sign a striker. Rangers’ Colombian forward Alfredo Morelos has emerged as a target with Bobic travelling to Glasgow to scout him in a recent game against Hibernians as well as keeping close tabs on him for months.
Morelos hit 30 goals in all competitions last season but was also sent-off five times. Frankfurt’s interest may be cooled by this indiscipline, but also by the fact that the player has strongly indicated that his preference is for a move to the Premier League, rather than Europe.
Could Max Kruse be an outside bet for a move to Eintracht? Having left Werder and being available on a free transfer, the 31-year-old could do a job for Frankfurt- albeit a much different job than Jovic did.
Kruse has intimated that he would ideally like to play Champions League football next season, but with Europa League action in Frankfurt, he could be tempted to stay in the Bundesliga rather than going to Turkey for example.
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