Luka Jovic joining Real Madrid on serious upward curve

The last time Real Madrid signed forwards hailing from countries which were part of the former Yugoslavia, they combined to help lift La Liga in their first season at the Bernabeu and then deliver the UEFA Champions League. No pressure then, Luka Jovic.

There is, of course, one major difference between the imminently arriving Serbia striker and Predrag Mijatovic and Davor Suker - unlike those two, he is not a proven goalscorer in Spain.

"FIFA World Cup 2018, Group E, Serbia v Brazil" by Oleg Bkhambri (Voltmetro) CC BY-SA 3.0)

A reported €65,000,000 transfer to the Bernabeu from Eintracht Frankfurt, who only bought Jovic outright from Benfica in April, has also come at a much earlier time in his career. It also represents sound business as his sale comes with at least tenfold profit.

Mijatovic and Suker were in their prime and established La Liga stars via respective spells at Valencia and Sevilla. Jovic is much younger than they were when moving to Los Blancos and set to appear for Serbia's youth team in the UEFA Under-21 European Championship in Italy.

He has already featured for the national team including an appearance at last year's World Cup, as well as bagging his first international goal. They are currently in the process of trying to get through a tough Euro qualifying group including Portugal and Ukraine, which is reflected in their 9/2 price to reach the Euros in international football betting, although they are guaranteed a play-off spot after winning their Nations League group.

This past season has been a breakout campaign for him in the Bundesliga though, as he fired 17 goals and helped Frankfurt to the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League with a further 10. He struck home and away against subsequent winners Chelsea proving he can handle big occasions.

Jovic comes to the Bernabeu after winning the Serbian SuperLiga with Red Star Belgrade, then being in and around the Portuguese Primeira Liga setup at Benfica before lifting a trophy with Frankfurt; they upset Bayern Munich with late goals in the 2018 DFB-Pokal final.

It's an impressive haul of trophies for a forward who is still just 21 years old. This is also an interesting time to come to Real Madrid as returning boss Zinedine Zidane is expected to make sweeping changes to the squad.

Under Zizou, Los Blancos landed a hat-trick of Champions League crowns between 2016 and 2018 before leaving the club. They were eliminated in front of their own fans by an exciting Ajax outfit, whose sensational run came to an end in the semis. The natural aim is to return Real Madrid to that dominance in Europe.

Los Blancos were also below par on the home front. Without the guaranteed goals of Cristiano Ronaldo following his shock move to Juventus last summer, they lost almost a third (12) of their La Liga matches and ended the campaign 19 points behind El Clasico rivals Barcelona.

A domestic response is mandatory from Zidane and the players he signs. Bookmakers bet365 still make Barca favourites to retain La Liga, but Real Madrid are 6/4 to overhaul their bitter rivals and win the title for the first time since 2017.

Jovic is a player on a serious upward curve, and this fresh injection of youth into Los Blancos' squad, which contains relative veteran Karim Benzema and exciting talents like Vinicius Junior in attack, could prove as smart as the acquisitions of Mijatovic and Suker in 1996.