Rafa Benitez having a bit of a laugh with Aleksandar Mitrovic
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 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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