Intrest in Mitrovic but Rafa undecided whether to let striker leave
ALEKSANDAR Mitrovic is attracting interest from China and the Championship – but Rafa Benitez is yet to decide whether he can afford to let the striker leave Newcastle United in January.
The 23-year-old has played just 30 minutes of Premier League football so far this season and is Benitez’s third-choice striker, between both Joselu and Dwight Gayle.
Benitez simply does not appear to trust the forward, and that has alerted clubs both home and abroad to his potential availability in January, though Mitrovic will only be allowed to leave if a replacement can be signed.
Three Championship clubs made enquiries for the Serbia international during the summer, and another second-tier side registered an interest in Mitrovic earlier this week – stressing they would be keen to sign the forward during the mid-season window.
Former club Anderlecht have also made it clear that they would be keen to take Mitrovic on loan for the second half of the season.
But interest in Mitrovic even stretches as far as China, where at least two Chinese Super League clubs are understood to be interested in the forward, including Shanghai Greenland Shenhua.
They will have taken a keen interest in Mitrovic’s performance for Serbia at the Tianhe Stadium as the Complete the form on the left. We have launched the survey online, please visit our Newcastle United section on our sister forward started for Serbia against China in Guangzhou on Friday, scoring his side’s second in a 2-0 victory.
Mitrovic has played for a combined 531 minutes for club and country so far this season and has scored four times – meaning he has a return of a goal every 133 minutes.
However, though Benitez would ideally prefer to sell Mitrovic – who was available for the right price during each of the last three windows – the Newcastle manager will only do so if and when he has a replacement lined up.
United have already identified several potential striker targets, with a loan deal for Liverpool’s website at www.chroniclelive.co.uk/all-about/ newcastle-united-fc and follow the link to Greatest EVER XI
There is scope to add in your favourites if they haven’t been included on the shortlist. Simply type in their full name in the comment box on the online Survey Monkey link and it will count as one vote. If your favourite gets more votes than any of the nominated players, we’ll include them in the team – as long as our selection panel considers them a suitable addition!
It was not an easy call. Newcastle have traditionally played with a 4-4-2 but there was such a wealth of attacking talent that we’ve opted for three up front so that you’re spared the dilemma of dropping one of club’s striking greats. We’ve still included all of your favourite wingers. Danny Ings among those being considered.
But, given the on-going uncertainty over whether Mike Ashley will be able to sell the club by January, Benitez is unsure as to what his exact budget will be.
If he can recruit a striker during the mid-season window, then Mitrovic will be free to leave - but Benitez will not allow the club to accept an offer for the Serbian until that alternative has been secured.
Mitrovic was left on the bench during the 1-0 defeat to AFC Bournemouth last week, despite United’s failure to take their chances, and has struggled to even be named among the substitutes at times this season.
TO mark Newcastle United’s 125th anniversary we want you to pick the best Newcastle United XI from the club’s rich history.
From Bob Moncur to Alan Shearer via some of the other great players who have donned black and white, we have come up with a shortlist of 38 players for you to turn into the greatest Newcastle side EVER.
And in conjunction with Newcastle United, The Sunday Sun with our sister papers The Journal, the Chronicle and ChronicleLive is hosting the selection process.
Voting has already opened for you to pick your best players ahead of an announcement on December 9 before the club’s 125th anniversary game against Leicester City at St James’ Park. Here is everything you need to know about the process – including any questions that you might have. How do I pick my team? What if my favourite player isn’t on the list? Why is it a 4-3-3 formation?