Aleksandar Mitrovic is now back under discussion.
It is almost six weeks ago when we last saw the Serbian striker, making his latest brief substitute appearance in the 3-2 home defeat to Leicester.
Still yet to start a Premier League game this season, Aleksandar Mitrovic has only played 89 minutes of league football this season in his six appearances off the bench.
He did though score in his only start in the 3-2 League Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest back in August.
Asked about the FA Cup game in 12 days time, Rafa Benitez says his approach to that game (and the Burnley PL home game three days later) will depend on the strength of the squad available to him.
Rafa said back in December that Mitrovic was out with a ‘small back problem’, only for then the striker to do an interview on 27 December (see below) back home in Serbia, claiming he had never felt better physically and was desperate to be playing football. That interview also saw the Serbian international say that he knew he had to find a new club this month.
Rafa Benitez indicates now that Mitro isn’t far away from being available once again, though we do appear to be in the standard position, the manager no doubt still having no interest in playing the striker in the Premier League and the club/Mike Ashley waiting in the vain hope that they are going to get back the £14m they paid for him two and a half years ago.
In the last two years Aleksandar Mitrovic has only started eight Premier League matches, as well as 11 in the Championship. It continues to be a position that is of no use to anybody but if Ashley is still insisting on the club getting their money back, or even more according to some reports, then it looks all but certain that Rafa Benitez and Mitro will remain in this Catch 22 position (won’t play him/can’t sell) for some time to come.
The FA Cup fourth round match would be ideal for all parties for the forward to show his fitness and hopefully impress another club enough to come in for him. Last week brought claims in France of Bordeaux being interested in signing Aleksandar Mitrovic but only on loan as to buy him would be beyond their means. On Friday, Rafa Benitez stated that he wasn’t interested in loaning out senior fringe players and only wanted to sell, if the right offer came in and he could then replace them.
Rafa Benitez speaking to the Chronicle, asked how he will approach fourth round FA cup-tie and then Burnley in Premier League only three days later:
“It depends on the squad, sometimes if you have enough players available and players coming back from injuries, maybe you can manage (games in quick succession) in a better way.
“We have to wait to see.
“We have Florian Lejeune, Jesus Gamez and Aleksandar Mitrovic all running – Mitro is getting close and we will see.
“Gamez will take more time but if they are fine then we have more bodies.
“We have to wait, they (Chelsea play Norwich on Wednesday night in the replay) still have to play another game and will have plenty of time to talk about that.
“We are happy because we are into another round.
“It will be tough anyway because both teams are quite difficult to play against, we will wait and see what happens.”
The Mag – 8 January 2018:
Reports from France on Monday afternoon that Aleksandar Mitrovic has opened talks on a move to Ligue 1.
RMC Sport say that the Newcastle striker’s agents are discussing a move with Bordeaux.
The French club finished in sixth place last season but are having a nightmare this time around.
Yoan Gouffran’s former club are currently 15th and only two points off second bottom.
Nicolas de Preville was bought in the summer for £7m from Lille to be the main striker but he has been a disaster so far, the centre-forward scoring only one league goal so far.
Mohamed Bouhafsi of RMC Sport says that Bordeaux are looking at a loan deal initially but don’t hold out much hope of signing Aleksandar Mitrovic permanently, as they believe any buyout option will be too rich for them.
The NUFC striker has played only 89 minutes of Premier League football across six short substitute appearances, the latest of those over four weeks ago when coming on late in the 3-2 home defeat to Leicester.
Rafa Benitez indicated that it was a ‘small back problem’ which ruled Mitrovic out of subsequent matches but the player himself told Serbian media two weeks ago that he has ‘never felt better’ when asked about his fitness
Aleksandar Mitrovic – 27 December 2017:
“I have never felt better,
“I’m physically in flawless form, I cannot wait to play.
“The most important thing is to find a club and finally get a chance on the pitch. I have not forgotten football, nor how to score goals.”
Mohamed Bouhafsi of RMC Sport today (8 January 2018):
“Ligue 1 side Bordeaux have opened talks with Serbian forward and Newcastle United player Aleksandar Mitrovic’s entourage.
“The Girondins are pessimistic about an eventual agreement because of how much a deal would cost.”