At the weekend it was revealed that Newcastle hadn’t had a single offer to buy Aleksandar Mitrovic.
It was reported (see below) that only loan bids had been made for the striker and rejected instantly, as Rafa Benitez is desperate to sell the unwanted 22 year old forward to raise funds to help him bring in a striker of his choice.
With only 11 Championship starts last season, Rafa clearly doesn’t see Mitrovic as fitting in with how he wants to play, which was then confirmed when the United boss even put ‘bargain’ buy Joselu into action at Huddersfield ahead of the number 45.
Last night was a strange one, as Aleksandar Mitrovic got a rare chance to impress against Nottingham Forest in the League Cup.
After only three minutes he showed very good movement and sidestepped the defender before lashing an unstoppable shot past the keeper from the edge of the box.
After that though, Mitrovic contributed pretty much nothing, his lack of pace/mobility once again leaving him lacking, especially when it comes to what Rafa Benitez wants/needs a striker to do.
Salvation for all sides could be at hand though, with Sky Sports reporting new interest in Italy for the striker.
Keith Downie covers Newcastle United for the broadcaster and he says that they have been informed by their colleagues at Sky Sports Italy that Serie A side Calgiari have approached Newcastle about Mitrovic’ availability.
A week to go in the transfer market, there was no confirmation whether the approach is to buy or an initial loan.
Even if it was only a loan on offer for the time being, you would imagine Newcastle/Rafa may well still be interested – IF they can then bring a loan striker in themselves.
A number of forwards have been mentioned, with Chelsea for example said to be possibly willing to loan Batshuayi out, if they get their own targets.
Looks like a busy week ahead…
The Mag – 20 August 2017:
Rafa Benitez has been talking once again about the issues surrounding this summer’s transfer window.
The United boss says ‘We have had a lot of interest in some of our players but the question is how much they have offered’.
The list of players Rafa would love to shift is stifling the club’s hope this coming season, with the likes of Riviere, de Jong, Haidara, Good, Lazaar, Hanley, Krul, Mitrovic, Saivet and others, all players that the manager is desperate to find new clubs for and help him to do his own transfer business.
The Chronicle have revealed that this summer Newcastle haven’t had a single offer to buy Mitrovic, with only clubs interested in loan deals.
For a player who cost £14m and one of the biggest wage earners, this has been a massive obstacle to Rafa Benitez bringing in a striker who can properly compete properly with Gayle, as well as potentially play alongside.
In the relegation run-in, Mitrovic only started two of the final seven Premier League matches that decided Newcastle’s fate, whilst only 11 Championship starts made absolutely clear Rafa doesn’t rate the Serbian.
The United boss has brought in Joselu as otherwise he would be left with no other option but to play Mitrovic if Gayle is unavailable – his injury record making that all but certain for at least some of the season.
With Gayle unavailable in the final friendlies, Rafa was forced to even try out the likes of Diame and Ritchie as emergency strikers, just in case he needed to improvise in the Premier League if the right signings aren’t made.
There appears little doubt that Joselu has straight gone in as first choice back-up for Gayle.
Elsewhere in the media there are claims in The Mail that Newcastle could still get Batshuayi on loan late on in the transfer window if Chelsea can bring in another striker.
Rafa Benitez talks about selling players and trying to replace them at this late stage.
It looks very much like it is a case of Rafa will be stuck with Mitro as one of his three strikers, unless action happens elsewhere and he can land a forward on loan, allowing Mitrovic to go elsewhere on a temporary deal – with potentially a view to a permanent deal.
“We have had a lot of interest in some of our players but the question is how much they have offered.
“If you say you can pay £220m for Neymar, how much is the striker at the next level? And the next?
“I said the other day that if you can kick the ball forward it’s £10m, if you can score it’s £20m.
“So how much do you expect someone interested in Gayle or Mitro or one of our other players to ensure it’s the right price? We would have to sign another one – we don’t have too many strikers.”
“Normally you will play 4-2-3-1, you can play 4-4-2 sometimes. Whatever system.
“We have three, four strikers if we put Ayo (Perez) in if someone else. More or less, we are fine.
“Our fans are saying ‘Rafa is talking about keepers but we need another striker’. We know our job, we were looking for a striker, we were waiting and then we went and got him when he became available.
“We cannot sell a striker now: why?
“We needed another one (before the signing of Joselu) and we now have three. If someone is coming in (to sign Mitrovic) they would need to make a very good offer – because if we go to the market now for a striker at the level now, how much would the price be?
“The price would be a lot, or we’d miss out. If you want to replace a player now, it has to be enough for you to compete. It’s not an easy market for us now.
“When we signed Joselu it is because we thought he could give us something we needed. Mitro, Gayle, Ayo can play up front. With him we are protected and you have someone who has played in the Premier League before.
“It was difficult for us, when Gayle had a little problem we had just Mitrovic playing during the pre-season.
“Now we have more protection and hopefully because he (Joselu) knows what it means to play in England, he will do well for us.”