Manuel Pellegrini has moved to declare that Sergio Aguero’s World Cup excursions and subsequent late return to pre-season training (he’s not due back until 12 days prior to the opening day of the season) are almost certain to render him unfit for action in the early exchanges.
Manchester City will, therefore, have to do without the shiniest gem in their jewel-encrusted frontline for the first few matches of the campaign at least.
But the Citizens have no cause to worry, or so the electrifying friendly form of fit-again Montenegrin goal-machine Stevan Jovetic suggests.
The former Fiorentina man has bagged successive braces in the International Champions Cup in New York, the first against Milan before repeating the trick against Liverpool.
These four strikes supplement a solitary post-season goal in City’s 3-0 pre-World Cup win over Al Ain.
As a result of his negligible involvement last time around, Jovetic is behind fellow frontmen Aguero and Edin Dzeko in the Man City team top-scorer betting, as well as dynamic midfielder Yaya Toure.
But those brave enough to back him to outscore the lot can get paid out at 8/1 and there’s plenty of cause to argue his capability.
His first season in the English top flight saw him start just two matches, but he still managed to find the net three times.
That came after scoring 27 in 58 Serie A starts for La Viola across the previous two terms.
In that system he played as a second striker, not completely alienated from the role Aguero carries out when paired with Dzeko up top.
The Argentine’s injury-proneness should afford Jovetic ample opportunity to showcase his talents this season, while the Bosnian whom he’ll be leading the line with is the natural centre-forward who was absent during his stint in Florence.
Alongside a striker who can shoulder the bulk of the back-to-goal, hold-up play burdens, and with conjurers of Samir Nasri and David Silva’s calibre providing the ammunition, the Montenegrin has the ability to challenge the two favourites in the Man City top scorer market and should get the time to do so.