Fair to say that the fortunes of Aleksandar Mitrovic will be the most closely monitored by Newcastle fans, of the handful of players to leave on loan on deadline day.

Joining Fulham on loan for the rest of the season, it will be interesting to see how he gets on.

Of course, Rafa refused to allow the striker to join another Premier League club in January, no matter how unrealistic he might have thought it, just the idea of Aleksandar Mitrovic scoring goals and/or just helping a rival stay up at Newcastle’s expense, would have been just too much.

Whilst it won’t directly affect Newcastle now he’s gone to Craven Cottage, it goes without saying that if Mitro scores lots of goals in the Championship then people will question the wisdom of letting him go out on loan. Particularly so if Newcastle are struggling for goals and points.

However, when asked about the subject, Rafa only hopes that Mitro does well at Fulham.

Although I had to laugh at the goals target the Newcastle boss has set for the Serbian, surely not a serious one, and possibly setting the bar on purpose higher than Mitrovic has any chance of reaching?

The Spaniard declaring: ‘Hopefully he will score 20 or 25 goals. We will be happy with that.’

After 29 matches played the highest scorer in the Championship has only 15 goals, Matej Vydra of Derby and Leon Clarke of Sheff United.

Last season, only Chris Wood scored 25 or more in the Championship, the then Leeds striker getting 27 goals and the Dwight Gayle one of a few players who were next highest with 23.

Fulham are home to Forest and Aleksandar Mitrovic could potentially line up against Jack Colback, at the very most though the forward only had 17 games in which to get his goals (unless Fulham reach the play-offs once again).

Maybe at Fulham, Mitro will beat the number of league starts he has had under Rafa in almost two years at Newcastle.

Only 15 starts and in the Championship he had 11, plus 14 appearances from the bench last season, only scoring four second tier goals.

Obviously it is a win-win for everybody if Mitro does well at Fulham but surely if he can get double figures that would be an excellent return.

It has so far proved impossible for Rafa to sell Aleksandar Mitrovic and use the cash towards buying a striker he does want. Mike Ashley valuing Mitro at over £15m despite him not startig a single Premier League game this season and only 11 last season.

If Mitrovic scores 25 goals this season then you wonder what price ta Ashley would then put on him…

Rafa Benitez asked about Aleksandar Mitrovic:

“My relationship with him (Aleksandar Mitrovic) is fine.

“He is a nice lad.

“You pick your team and I don’t need to worry about my ego – I have won trophies around the world and I don’t need to be worried about my ego.

“My priority to win games and you pick your team thinking…’This is the best team for me’.

“It was clear that he wanted, and needed, to play games.

“Now he has an opportunity.

“Hopefully he will score 20 or 25 goals.

“We will be happy with that.

“He would have more value.

“He will come here and say…‘I am a new player and you have to trust me because I have scored 25 goals.’

“Fine, no problem.”

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  • Mitros gotta start

    Nothing to do with he didnt want to strengthen our rivals…..more to do with he didnt want to be proved wrong by someone playing him and he starts to knock them in at premier league level….how silly would our world class manager and tactical genius have looked then….Rafa the liar is more worried about saving face than saving the club from relegation

    • Geordiegiants

      Yeah Mitro the 23 year old bit part thug, is worth more to Newcastle United than a proven world class winner. We should put you forward as the fans voice to Jabba in the next general meeting.

      • Mike Adam

        Are you over here to continue your Mitro hate campagne or to protect Rafa??? No matter what level of success a manager has achieved, they always make mistakes, just like we all do.

        • Geordiegiants

          I don’t disagree Mike, but Rafa made his decision and stuck to it. People bleating on and on are not going to change anything, as it goes I would of used Mitro now and again for the last ten mins here and there, and Joselu is just as bad, between them there isn’t a lot of goals at all.

      • JonMag

        and Joselu is, FFS

      • mentalman

        You need to judge the manager on the here and now not on past achievements and at this moment in time he is not a world class manager

        • Wor Lass

          I wonder what you said about Pardew when we came 5th and he was voted manager of the season?

          • Pozz Mozz

            Heard he wore the plaque around his neck during the WBA interview

          • Damon Horner

            With his two FA Cup runners up medals.

        • Tony English

          If Eric Clapton was given a five quid ukulele with one string on it from the charity shop, he could maybe fiddle about and bang out an average tune….would you judge him on that moment in time and say “he used to be world class” or accept that temporarily he didn’t have the tools?

          I hope at some point Rafa is given the chance to prove you wrong.

        • Geordiegiants

          I am, do you think pep could do what Rafa is doing, do you think pep would have the balls to even try? Or Jose?
          I think we all know the answer to that.

          • mentalman

            i think pep would do better and no i dont think they would try because they dont need to, they are at the top and can pick and choose who they manage, rafa is nowhere near the level of pep or jose and thats why he’s hear and accepts the problems tge other fat one creates

          • Geordiegiants

            Really or are you just saying that?

    • JonMag

      i`d mark you up but i can`t call the manager a liar, he may bend the truth a bit but i don`t think he goes out to tell a lie

  • Jimmy_toons

    Plain reason looks like Benitez didn’t trust Mitrovic to do what he asked told him to do. Having watched him over the last couple of seasons when he was on the pitch, I could see why. Good luck to him at Fulham I but I don’t think by any stretch of the imagination, he’s the player some on here make him out to be.

    • Wor Lass

      For me, it wasn`t so much that I thought he was a terrific player but I just couldn`t understand why he was copletely sidelined when we couldn`t score a goal. From memoery, I think his minutes per goal record is 129 or thereabouts. That`s roughly 3 times better than anyone else. He may or may not be proven PL standard but Perez and Gayle aren`t and Joselu absolutely isn`t. The only explanation for me has to be something major behind the scenes that`s blotted his copy book.

      • JonMag

        to many contradictions concerning Mitrovich & Rafa, what surprises me is the patience shown by the player, maybe he isn`t the hothead a lot of fans make him out to be

      • Wor Lass

        Or Rafa`s got him dead to rights and he doesn`t want it coming out. Something`s gone on behind the scenes. I don`t buy the Chronic`s poor training stats line and Rafa`s “he`s a nice lad” is a bit late in coming.

        • JonMag

          doesn`t do any good talking to yourself

          • Wor Lass

            Better than talking to Clarko! Ha ha – at least you figured it out!!

    • JonMag

      I wonder what Benitez asks Joselu to do then.
      strange isn`t it, an international that can`t get a game in a team that can`t score goals
      very strange

      • Mike Adam

        Since he keeps starting and does nothing, I suppose Rafa asks him to do “nothing”. He does it so well too, it is like playing with ten men from the opening whistle.

        • JonMag

          i`m afraid you`re right

      • TheFatController

        Unless they’ve played and shone in a World Cup or a continent tournament, international doesn’t mean much in the modern game. Most international games in qualifiers aren’t the standard of the PL for obvious reasons …

        • TheNutJob

          it means more than a reserve striker from Stoke

        • thewildchimp

          Yeah, because Swansea is obviously stronger than the Welsh national team, against whom Mitro scored twice. We have maybe 4 great teams in the Prem, the rest are ordinary.
          Rafa just doesn’t like him in a footballing sense. And the only ones that don’t like him are his manager and some of our fans. After the deal with Anderlecht went astray, they’ve found him a new club in mere hours.

    • Jezza

      Agreed. Mitrovic looked well out of his depth in the Championship last season and against third division Oxford in the cup for that matter.

      • Mike Adam

        That is all you ever spout, last year in the Championship against third divison Oxford in the cup. Last year in the Championship has nothing to do with this year in the Prem, just look at Gayle. He is gone for the rest of the season, you can stop apologizing for Rafa and the 10 times we have been shut out, and the negative defensive tactics that have cost us precious points. Now is the time that Rafa proves whether he is the “World Class” manager you and others say he is. This where the crying over transfer spending can stop until the end of the season and he MUST coach the players he has and try to earn enough points to keep us up. If he is as great as you and others say, he should be able to accomplish keeping NUFC in the Prem.

    • thewildchimp

      Well, in that case – he probably didn’t ask Hoss to score goals… ‘Cause he was there, playing week in-week out…

  • Mrkgw

    In an ideal world, Mitro will score a hatful and prove Rafa wrong. Whether he is ever willing to take him back into the fold remains to be seen. I sincerely hope so as for me, Rafa got this one plain and simply wrong. Time will of course, tell.

    • JonMag

      he`ll never play under Rafa, even if he get`s a goal a game at Fulham.

    • Wor Lass

      If he scored a few in the Championship it wouldn`t necessarily prove Rafa wrong because we don`t really know why he won`t play him. My pet theory is that he caught him and Mbemba spit-roasting his missus.

      • JonMag

        he should have ditched Hoss before Mitrovich, that shows he`s biased. thank god for Slimani !

        • Wor Lass

          Won`t be long before he`s gettin “Salami” if he doesn`t score (I bet he`d love JFK).

          • JonMag

            I think he`ll score ok, but will it be enough to keep us up.
            without him and Kenedy i would have said we`d go down. with those 2 we`re in with a chance

          • Wor Lass

            Agreed.

          • StevieB

            Me too, it was nailed on without them but now I’m not sure, it’s all on Slimani’s shoulders …..simple as that .
            It’s a shame when we all walked out of st James last May to the song of “we are the champions” belting out and join the rafalution signs all over the place that they didn’t say to us ….PS by February your clubs hopes will be hanging on a Leicester reject striker 👍

            Funny how they missed that off innit 😂😂

      • Mitros gotta start

        Aarons was taping it on his phone

  • John

    I can act like a c*** because I’ve won the champions league through a miracle then won trophies elsewhere with squads who would find it harder not to win…

    • JonMag

      very eloquent
      😀😀

    • Wor Lass

      You haven`t won the CL or any other trophies, probably, but I reckon you could do the first bit, John.

      • Jezza

        He already has. Looks like we’ve got another troll in our midst.

        • JonMag

          Jabba got a couple of players in then Jez,
          but it didn`t cost him a nut, so you were spot on

          • Jezza

            There was never going to be any money spent on transfer fees in January, that much was obvious. To be truthful I was genuinely suprised they even got a couple in on loan, I wasn’t expecting anything at all.

      • joe mac

        lol!

      • Kneebotherm8

        Carver?…..

    • StevieB

      You don’t fluke a champions league mate 🙁, let’s not get carried away

  • East Durham Mag

    Whatever people think Rafa didn’t play Mitrovic and Rafa alone really knows why. Thats it, Rafa picks the side, we all have our opinions but calling him names is pathetic. Fatty on the other hand ….

  • GToon

    What I don’t understand is why he didn’t play him when our biggest problem clearly is scoring goals. When you are in that position as a manager I would have thought you would have exhausted all avenues in an attempt to solve the problem. I just don’t get it at all, especially when the players tasked with the job are, to us spectators, not as good as Mitrovic. I’ve never known squad rotation like it and yet when it comes to Mitro the wheels seem to grind to a halt.
    I think if we stay up in years to come people will talk about the good job Rafa did. If we go down in years to come people will talk about the forward he refused to play.

    • Mike Adam

      Well said!!!

    • Leazes.

      Coz he can’t score goals and wanted him fit to sell….just a hunch.

      • thewildchimp

        In that case, he shouldn’t have played any of our forwards.

        • Leazes.

          Mitro in particular he wanted out, as for the rest I think he was open to offers which didn’t come.

          • Mike Adam

            Can you blame Mitro?

          • Leazes.

            I blame the club for buying him in the first place he’s been a disaster area for us.

          • Popnbgd

            We had plenty of offers…but Rafa raised his price to 50 mil for premier league clubs only…Your football knowledge is zero to none

  • StevieB

    It would be really interesting to see everyone’s perception of Benitez come May if we get relegated anyway and Mitro knocks 15 in for Fulham in the process…….🤔🤭

    • glassjawsh-got-banned

      I’m not really champing at the bit to find out…

    • gallowgate26

      Good luck with that prediction/prophecy?, seeing as he scored 4 goals in the whole of last season for a title winning team in the championship… If they played PNE every week I think he would get 15 goals though, he seems to find scoring easy against them! Not holding my breath personally. (I think Benitez’s 20-25 goals comment, although a daft thing to say to the soundbite hungry media, was taken completely out of context).

  • Leazes.

    I was wondering if it was ‘Sods Law’ or ‘Murphy’s law’….. to suggest that a striker who ‘can’t hit a cow’s A*se with a banjo’ for us will suddenly become the next Messi……

    ….I think it’s the first.

  • Pozz Mozz

    Mitrovic is on now for Fulham

    • Leazes.

      He’ll score…

      • Pozz Mozz

        Fulham 1-0 Forest
        Mitrovic 1-0 Rafa

        • Leazes.

          Sods law.

          • Pozz Mozz

            No Mitrovic yet to score but he’s running around distracting defenders

          • Leazes.

            Ah…. I wondered why Jeff Stelling wasn’t bouncing up and down.

          • Paul Smith

            He played no part in either goal and he wasn’t really in a position for anyone to seriously claim he was pulling defenders out of position either. Can watch the goals on the skysports website.

        • thewildchimp

          Watched only the first half, until my connection snapped. Didn’t see Mitro, as he started as a sub but Colback did alright. His standard: a few good tackles and a lucky-he-escaped-yellow rubbish one, then put it on a loop. :)

  • Scott Robinson

    That article the other day saying supporters shouldn’t target rubbish players (human beings…erm isn’t Mr Ashley ‘a human’, sort of?) and we should just go along and sit on the grey plastic seats supporting the team as they park a bus and a transit every other week. Just moan to the missus. Unfortunately there lies the problem. This is still one of the worst squads in recent living memory and we are in such a famine and starved of decent players that we start rating losers who couldn’t get in most of the top 12 teams. The atmosphere is rubbish and the excitement might get you up off the grey seat twice every 90 minutes. No need to boycott games, but the more vocal you are complaining the quicker things tend to improve. There is only one man to blame for the last decade …he needs something else to keep him awake at night

    Start with a 1000 JD Sports paper advertisement banners and ask JD Sports to supply them free. Sneak them in and there you go, Mr Ashley,…some more free advertising. Clever tactics every once and a while and Ashley will end up banning supporters and what fun if there was some legal action. He would soil his trousers at such a prospect. Look at this from sept 2017

    JD Sports has a habit of showing up Sports Direct. There was a time when Sports Direct’s shares were £9 each and groupies celebrated Mr Ashley’s retailing nous. They don’t do that so much now with the shares at £4, particularly after Sports Direct’s profits fell by nearly two-thirds last year.A week or so ago, Sports Direct talked of tidying up the jumble of sportswear in its stores. On Tuesday, JD Sports showed why, unveiling a 40 per cent rise in sales and a 33 per cent rise in first-half pre-tax profits. Galling enough. But to add insult, JD Sports’ shares are up a third in a year, to 370p. Mr Ashley sold the last of his 11 per cent stake in JD about a year ago: Sports Direct booked a £156m profit, under investment income, in 2016. If he’d held on, though, he would have banked so much more. About three years ago, when Sports Direct’s shares were £8 and JD Sports’ were £1, Mr Ashley offered Mr Cowgill 1m in shares and the job of chief executive. The former squash coach must lie in bed imagining how different things might have been.

  • Andy Mac

    “You pick your team and I don’t need to worry about my ego – I have won trophies around the world and I don’t need to be worried about my ego”

    Are we sure that’s what Rafa said word for word ? Very strange thing to say if it’s true ?.

    • nufcslf

      That bit stuck out on my mind as well. If it’s not a concern, you simply don’t have mention it.

    • Popnbgd

      Definite proof of Rafa’s ego…He is not much of poker player….

  • Steven05

    BREAKING NEWS: Liverpool, Spurs, Arsenal, Burnley, Man Utd, Inter Milan, West Brom, Everton, Valencia, Boro, Chelsea, Southampton were all aware that Mitro was available and battled each other for his signature

  • thewildchimp

    When all comes down: I’m disgusted because of two reasons.
    First are the cynical remarks of our boss, how he ‘hopes’ that a player who hasn’t played two full games time this entire season (managed to score 2, mind you) will suddenly bang in 20-25 goals in a completely new team and under 20 matches.
    The second one are the fans who’d rather he performs poorly, so their beloved manager would save face. That is… simply revolting… Who or what exactly do you support? Some signboard that has “Newcastle United Football Club” written on it, or the actual squad that plays in the games?

    • Leazes.

      I think that maybe Rafa has a sense of humour and he wasn’t particularly sincere in his ‘witches prophecy’ for Mitro.

      • thewildchimp

        Well, he wasn’t really mocking Mitro, he was mocking us who wanted Mitro used. And his conclusion was: “we’ll sell him for more money that way; I’m still not gonna play him. Well, unless he comes transformed into another type of player – maybe I’ll reconsider then.”

        Now, I might chuckle because of the occasional “Kart Hoss” joke, but deep down I’m sad for the guy. Starting for a grand club like this was probably his dream and he got reduced to a drag horse on the forums. But if he starts playing well, the fans will accept him in a heart-beat. Benitez is just… Just the kind of guy that once he makes up his mind – no matter what evidence you present to him, he won’t budge. If you think I’m wrong, then tell me: is Mitro better or worse than Joselu? If Benitez had M. Salah and S. Aguero at his disposal I wouldn’t have said a word. Then, he calls us out with a statement like this. Basically, taking us for fools.

    • Damon Horner

      I can’t understand why people seem to want a Mitrovic vs Benitez stance at all? It actually works both ways as well.

      • thewildchimp

        It’s different than Mbemba, Aarons, Colback vs. Benitez. Our centre-forward options were Hoselu, Gayle and Mitro. While the first two would go on to miss almost empty goals, Mitro was denied any chance. He scored two goals in 179 games, also some for his national team. That proves he isn’t a complete waste of time and space, yet was never given a real opportunity. Even in 15/16, Rafa would play Mitro as a sub to Cisse, who at the time had trouble trapping the ball.

        Until this point, Perez, Joselu & Gayle have 4, 4, 3 goals to their names, respectively. Lascelles and Clark have 3 and 2. PL scoring leaders have around 5-7 times more than each of them, but that’s another level of players.

        So fans naturally question Rafa’s decision. He’s not immune to fair criticism, and even some of the most die-hard Rafa apologists don’t come to terms with leaving Mitro out. You can’t score less than 0 goals per game. And even if he couldn’t score, Mitro has a decent hold up and distribution game in him, which the rest of them lack.

        Rafa Benitez HAS won the CL and the UEFA Cup, but IS now the manager of NUFC, side significantly worse than his previous.

        • Damon Horner

          Yea, I know and get all that. I just don’t think its a side plot that would benefit anybody if it is to be played.

          If Mitrovic proves he is the player most of our fans seem to think he is then good for him but it shouldn’t be in spite to Rafa nor is it fair to want him to fail when by known fact, he hasn’t been disrespectful.

          Personally I haven’t seen anything about him that makes me think he would have done much better than Gayle/Joselu, I accept he could have but that argument plays for Armstrong/Toney and even with the likes of Colback/Shelvey, on that basis I would ask the question but not hold it up for criticism of the manager.

          • thewildchimp

            Well, the manager has said multiple times that he decides based on who performs better on the training sessions. If it’s true, then how about deciding based on the actual game performances?

            I have seen enough of him that makes me think he would. The way he eluded West Ham’s defence and rounded Joe Hart or the entire Preston defence in the EFL Cup last season – have you seen the rest of them do anything like that?

          • Damon Horner

            You could go all day with pros and cons, for every good bit of play there is an elbow for Lanzini or a back heel to give Aston Villa key possession.

            We’ve seen some great technique and movement from the very player you said can’t trap a ball, on balance he hasn’t done enough to command it.

            Like I said though, I’d have caved during our winless run in November but I don’t blame Rafa for overlooking him.

          • Popnbgd

            It is not like we are playing Kane & Aguero upfront as a starting forwards…I definitely blame Rafa for not playing him

          • Damon Horner

            Fair enough, that’s up to you. Mitrovic is hardly Kane himself which is the reason I don’t blame Rafa, we win today and we go 11th but by all means blame the manager for not making better decisions by not playing the striker who had four goals from open play by end of Feb in our last relegation season.

          • thewildchimp

            No, no, I haven’t said Cisse is a bad player. But his fitness was atrocious near the end of the 15/16 season. Don’t know what happened. Everytime Mitro would come in the opposition’s defence line would drop back for solid 10 yards – that is how much of a difference in threat there was.

  • Colin Brumwell

    We have problems scoring goals but over the last few weeks Rafas solution seems to be if you score you are immediately dropped a la Murphy Saivet and Diame

  • StevieB

    Also worth noting today that Burnley didn’t accept a reasonable defeat against city like we did , they got at them and hey presto 🙄🙄……they found out they are only human

    • Down Under Mag

      Seriously, if we had a better forward option then we might well have nicked a point against City at home ourselves…we had the chances but couldn’t convert. If we had opened up to have a pop with the players we have then we would have been hammered.We are currently out of the drop zone on goal difference…goal difference that was maintained because Rafa didn’t “go out and have a go” he kept things tight and suffered all manner of critique from pundits and fans alike.

      • Geordiegiants

        This is what everyone is not getting, we don t have a striker. We don’t have a play maker to make goals for the goal scorer. We really only really have defence.

  • Paul Patterson

    Above all else despite what some fans may think, – he’s honest.

    • Geordiegiants

      Very!!

  • Down Under Mag

    Certainly an interesting watch for a few months.

    One problem for Mitro I feel is that he doesn’t work hard enough off the ball. It’s all well and good saying he’s there to score goals but if he doesn’t work hard to get into scoring positions then he still won’t score goals. Also, it’s no good to the team if they are playing with 10 men any time they don’t have possession…which is quite a lot given our stats this season in some games.

    I think a lot of the chances we are creating are down to Gayles pace and Joselu’s work ethic, again no good if they can’t convert the chances, but Mitro needs to either have a link up player alongside him (not how Rafa has us set up) or he needs someone to put good balls into the box for him to work off…which until Kenedy joined our deliver from free-kicks and corners has been abysmal, let alone those put in during open play – no-one seems to be able to get the ball over the first defender without it sailing out for a throw-in.

    I honestly don’t think the discipline issues with red/yellow cards is why he hasn’t been picked, I just don’t think he is suited to how Rafa has us set up right now but if we “get at them” like some fans suggest we will concede far more than we currently are and there is still no guarantee we would score more, even with Mitro in the side. Let’s see how Slimani fairs…

    • Mike Adam

      You watch different games than I do. Mitro has 13 yellows and 3 or 4 reds(if you count the pundit red after the fact) in his 6 year career. That averages out to 2 yellows and one half or so red a season. If that is a discipline problem please educate me!

      • Down Under Mag

        As I said, I don’t think that the cards is the problem…he was a marked man from the refs though after early premiership games and seemed to give free kicks away regularly even if they didn’t always result in a card. I lack of discipline I speak of is more his inability to do what the manager tells him to and is often lacking in team ethics…love his passion but he just needs to learn to focus it in the right areas and not switch his brain off on occasions (much like Shelvey to be honest).

  • Popnbgd

    Listening to Rafa’s nonsensical and sarcastic answers about number of goals Mitro will score, one would think that Rafa is playing Harry Kane and Aguero upfront,as starting strikers in Newcastle team..which gives him a right to make fun of Mitrovic…..or math is definitely not Rafa’s forte…

    • Geordiegiants

      Yeah but he has earned the right to be paid handsomely for his opinion.

      • Popnbgd

        His opinion seems a bit off …

    • Viru leckworth

      Maths