For whatever reason, Rafa Benitez does not seem to rate the qualities that Aleksandar Mitrovic brings to the table.
Last season, Newcastle struggled to score goals yet loaned the Serbian striker to Championship side Fulham. The rest, as they say, is history. Mitrovic was a revelation in London and was a huge reason why the Cottagers earned promotion as they went on a stupendous run of form with him leading the line.
He has since returned to Newcastle but is expected to leave Tyneside this summer and Fulham are eagerly looking to get his signature as they try to build a side capable of maintaining their Premier League status.
It has been reported in the Evening Standard that Fulham are closing in on a £20 million move. But would it be a good deal for them?
Last seasons record
To say that Mitrovic was good for Fulham last season would be a huge disservice to the quality that the striker brought them.
It almost seemed like Benitez had sucked the life out the striker at Newcastle and Fulham offered him a chance to play his best football.
In the first half of the season, Mitro played just eight league games for Newcastle, and they all came from the bench. He managed one goal, and another goal in the League Cup - hardly an eye-catching return.
|Tournament||Game time (Mins)||G||A||Key passes PG||Pass success||Shots PG|
|Championship||1653 (20 games)||12||1||1.1||77.1%||4.1|
|World Cup||269 (3 games)||1||0||0.5||47.7||4.7|
(Stats from WhoScored.com)
When Newcastle United made the decision to loan him out, Fulham managed to secure his services. At the time they were nothing more than a mid-table side with no real hope of making the playoffs unless they went on a very good run.
And they did.
Mitrovic was paramount to that success his 12 goals and one assist drove Fulham to a 16-game unbeaten run that eventually ended with a defeat on the final day against Birmingham City.
Six Man of the Match performances illustrate just how effective he was and Fulham benefited greatly from his superb physicality, winning four aerial battles per game, and his ability to bring the other attacking players into the game.
A good deal all around?
This is one of those transfers in which every party benefits greatly.
Mitrovic will be able to move away from Newcastle where he has really struggled to put his stamp on the team and join Fulham, a team who appreciate his talents and can get the best out of him.
Fulham are getting a striker that they know fits their system and team and Newcastle are getting £20 million for a player they had no interest in giving a fair shot at the starting XI.
Benitez will look at this deal as a huge win for him and it could give him the chance to reinvest that money into more pressing concerns within the team, so Newcastle fans should be extremely happy if this transfer does go through.
The Mitrovic and Newcastle relationship had its moments, he scored the equaliser once in a Tyne-Wear derby, but really the relationship seemed doomed once Rafa decided to bring in Dwight Gayle and effectively limit Mitro’s influence.
For all parties, this transfer makes a great deal of sense.
Should Fulham part with £20 million for Mitrovic? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below.