An ominous admission has emerged in The Chronicle this week, with Chris Waugh revealing that NUFC missed out on Stevan Jovetic over the summer after the board failed to free up funds to sanction a £10m deal for the former Inter Milan striker – leaving Rafa Benitez to settle on the £5m signing of Joselu instead.
This says it all as to why Benitez was hugely frustrated over the summer as far as I’m concerned.
Yes the fee for Jovetic was double that of Joselu, but when you look at value for money, £10m for a player of Jovetic’s pedigree seems a considerably better deal than £5m for an unproven striker like Joselu.
Here’s what Chris Waugh revealed in his piece in The Chronicle , reflecting on Benitez’s failed attempt to sign Jovetic over the summer:
‘Benitez firmly believed that he could win the European-wide race for the Montenegro international who he attempted to sign at Liverpool, only for the Reds owner to refuse to part with the necessary cash.
‘Even in spite of that, Benitez has kept in contact with Jovetic’s representatives, while he also spoke to officials he trusts at the San Siro, where he briefly managed.
‘Had United freed the necessary funds, then Jovetic may have been leading the line at St James’ Park, rather than sitting on the bench at Monaco.’
It sounds like Rafa had the contacts in place to do a deal with former club Inter Milan, making what appeared to be an ambitious deal seem quite realistic.
With this in mind, and the fact he knew the importance of a quality addition up top (which we failed to secure), it must’ve really infuuriated Rafa that the board could not justify spending £5m more on someone like Jovetic – a player who ended up signing with reigning Ligue 1 champions Monaco.
Jovetic hasn’t always been prolific across his career, but he’s a genuine talent who has played at the top almost all his career – playing for Man City, Sevilla, Inter Milan, Fiorentina and now Monaco.
He can also play as a number 10; meaning he could’ve filled two areas we’re woefully short on quality in.
To think Ashley and co. told Rafa £10m was too much for someone like Jovetic in this day and age just sums up what Rafa was having to deal with over the summer.
We can only hope a takeover occurs as soon as possible to stop the same mistakes being made again in the transfer windows to come.