Rafa Benitez challenged Aleksandar Mitrovic to go out and score 20 goals or more when leaving on loan at the end of February.

Well, in these past four months he has now scored 17 goals for club and country, despite only starting 22 games.

The latest goalscoring exploits saw Mitro score his first ever hat-trick on Saturday night, a 5-1 friendly win over Bolivia as the Newcastle striker scored three and made one in the 70 minutes he spent on the pitch.

Mike Ashley was reported to be demanding over £15m for Aleksandar Mitrovic last summer, with Rafa Benitez having no interest in playing him.

After only four goals and eleven starts in the Championship season, little wonder there were no takers.

What would have been a realistic price for the Serbian striker in January after not a single league start all season?

That is the past though and now Fulham fans are really panicking as to whether they have any chance now of landing him on a permanent deal.

Newcastle fans may also be worrying because if money from selling players is key to Rafa’s budget for recruiting those signings he wants to make, what astronomic price will Mike Ashley put on Mitro now.

Then just imagine if he does well at the World Cup…

Comments from Fulham fans via various message boards:

‘That hat-trick puts another few million on the price.

If we did have an option to get him we should have paid £20m before the World Cup and £80k per week wages….cheap at that price.

However, I think the deal is complicated by Jokanovic failure to commit his future to us….Mitrovic will only want to come to Fulham if Jokanovic stays, which is understandable.

The Jokanovic situation is hampering our progress in the transfer market and this market is difficult ….World Cup, shorter window, stepping up a level etc.’

‘What a goal, hat-trick.’

‘Yes its against Bolivia but that shouldn’t matter.  

He has passion, skills and the ability to hold up the ball.  Just hope the price doesn’t go crazy silly.’

‘He’s a player that just wants to be loved.’

‘Agree, and the more he feels loved the more he gives on the pitch.’

‘Really were 3 good goals with the last a curler top corner from outside the penalty area.

Will we keep him at this rate?’

‘Imagine his fee be even bigger after The World Cup.’

‘We’ll never be able to afford him now. What a #9!’

‘I suspect there will be two ‘large’ signings in terms of transfer fee amongst a number of relatively modest ones. Mitro should be one of them.’

‘CALM DOWN MITRO ……….That third goal will have the scouts from all over the world wetting themselves.

Newcastle must be rubbing their hands…from selling reject at 11 million to have frenzied bidding at 25 million.’

‘Mitro just added 5 million to his value I am afraid, just watch (watch Mitro’s hat-trick HERE) his third goal from his hat trick today.’

  • Alex

    Ashley will be so greedy that he’ll price Newcastle out of a move, never mind Fulham.

  • ghostrider

    I know. How about we keep him and then we have no need to price anyone out of the market and also we solve one issue that should’ve already been solved before he was sent to Coventry for whatever reasons cited.

    Whether Mitrovic would play for us after all that is open to argument.
    If I was him I would be gone under Rafa.

    However, maybe Rafa will leave and a new manager can have a ready made striker to keep progressing.

    • Mike Adam

      Maybe buy a few players who can supply quality service into the box for Mitro???

      • ghostrider

        Yep…but to be perfectly honest, I think we only need a few players to inch forward with Mitro added into the equation.

        • Mike Adam

          Absolutely ghost.

    • TheFatController

      Keep on dreaming the dream, fantasist.

      • ghostrider

        You’re not making much sense. Are you ok?

  • Paul Patterson

    A define buyer in Fulham at £25m or no buyer at £50m+. I’m beginning to see similarities with Ashley’s ‘attempts’ at selling the club..

  • Vodkamagpie

    Fans question Newcastle not getting rafa to sign a new contract. Mitrovic is the perfect example of where the problem stands. Us fans debate should Mitrovic stay or go, is he better than our other strikers, will he score goals etc. If we are having second thoughts on Mitrovic, imagine the position Ashley is in. Rafa won’t play Mitrovic, don’t forget mbemba, lazaar, saivet, colback, Aarons, woodman , Armstrong. These are all players that won’t feature under rafa, but under new management, say a moyes, jokanovic, these 8 could be classed as new signings. Basically the club doesn’t need to spend money on transfers, as the players are here. It is a possibility Ashley is considering his options, and I don’t and can’t blame him

    • Paul Patterson

      Moyes? Keep smoking whatever it is you’re smoking . .

      • Vodkamagpie

        I mentioned moyes, because generally at West Ham, he played 3cbs, 2wing backs. He could play dubravka mbemba lascelles lejeune, yedlin ritchie, diame, merino shelvey, gayle mitrovic. Not a bad team, and which would cost 0mil to assemble

        • Damon Horner

          You listed eight players but only included two of them in your Moyes XI. How long before he’d be sacked? The revolving door opens again and all of a sudden the “new signings” become Perez, Atsu and Dummett.

          • Vodkamagpie

            Mbemba, mitrovic play, I rate mbemba very highly. Also merino gets more playing time,massive potential he has. Rafa needs a left winger 20mil, striker 20mil, etc. So financially Newcastle will save, Ashley has has almost certainly thought about this.

          • Damon Horner

            For the sake of a few million short term? Even then there are no guarantees a new manager would rate them. I reckon the manager is the part of that team that has to be on their game more than any other, unless the player in question is a superstar I wouldn’t honestly get rid of Rafa, a manager with a history of success, for Moyes with no success to date.

          • Vodkamagpie

            Personally I would stick with rafa, I’m just saying Ashley might be in two minds, which I can understand. Especially with rafa not signing a new contract, the changes he wants to implement could be 60mil going out, 30mil going in. With no guarantee of his future, it might seem risky .

          • Damon Horner

            I’d agree with that. Even if it was used as a bluff. I think Ashley wants the contract signed but isn’t one to concede or compromise too much, kind of puts it in a stalemate like it did with the Staveley takeover.

          • Vodkamagpie

            It must be tough being a owner of a football club

    • Damon Horner

      It would be harsh to make Rafa accountable for not playing and getting the best out players he was given and never wanted surely? Especially when it happens at all clubs. If that’s the way this club will be run going forward mate we’re in for a managerial revolving door.

      • Mike Adam

        It might not be fair Damon, but it is part of what a manager is expected to do, coach and get as much as possible out of the players he has whether he wanted them or not.

        • TheFatController

          I though Rafa this season picked the players that fitted his system and they finished 10th.

          I didn’t think it was that he couldn’t coach the others, just that he has 11 places and picks a team that he believes is most effective to get points?

          • JonMag

            he`s limited to what he can do because he hasn`t the players, give him the players & he`ll get us top 8 even 6

          • Mike Adam

            Who knows, maybe playing to the strengths of the players we have on the team would have been even more effective. Not to mention better football to watch. IMO most of the time Joselu was on the field we were playing with 10 men, not 11.

          • Damon Horner

            Would your opinion be the same if Mitrovic was taken out of the list? Which is probably your angle. Needs must at times when the club cant afford an outlay but howay man, he isn’t going to make Lazaar into Bale or Colback into Modric, sometimes you just need to offload when you can.

    • TheFatController

      Can I stop your trolling there.

      You probably think we all get irate and you can enjoy feeling powerful enough to illicit that reaction.

      I suspect many share my view of your comments however. You list players who wouldn’t even get a team promoted from the championship, and you know it.

      We’re laughing at you, not getting irate.

      Keep up the trolling. Just work out what you can attack Rafa on, or support Ashley on, type it, we’ll laugh, and onto the next…

    • Ram Kishore

      A different opinion but sensible one

  • Dillon Tovak

    Feet need to be back on the ground, he’s scoring in the championship and against Bolivia.
    You can only score against what’s put in front of you and I’m a fan of his, but to act like he’s all of a sudden in that top bracket is OTT.
    Personally I’d love it if I’m wrong and he stays OR we get a load of (reinvested) money for him, but calm it down.

    • Popnbgd

      He has scored 2 against Nigeria and it should be a hat-trick if it wasn’t for disallowing clean goal…Thanks to Mitrovic and his crucial goals Serbia will play in WC….First season at the age of 20,he scored 9 goals(against MAN Utd,Man City,Sunderland,Tottenham..etc) He has scored few in Champions league as well with Anderlecht…10 of his 12 goals in championship,he scored against top bracket teams…Wolves,Aston villa,Derby county…etc Your argument is not a good one…

      • Dillon Tovak

        Aston Villa and Derby are top teams that you think prove a top strikers worth if he scores against?
        Your arguments not a good one.
        Anyway, I’m saying he needs to do it more consistently against top teams. Anyone can score random goals against Man City etc.
        The truth is he started almost every game for us in the premier league and only scored 9.
        I’m not claiming anything about his ability other than he hasn’t CONSISTENTLY scored at the top level.
        By the way, scoring against the Wales’s and Macedonia’s of the world is not the highest level, Serbia had a freakishly weak group.

        • Popnbgd

          Whatever you say mate ….

  • Mrkgw

    Best thing that the regime and Rafa can do is to bring the lad back into the fold at St James. Give him a sustained and proper chance before even contemplating a sale. As Dillon suggests below, calm the whole thing down.

    • JonMag

      won`t happen under Rafa

  • JonMag

    I`m not worried that Mitrovich is going, it`s the load of schitt that will replace him that worries me, the fact is Rafa has little or no control on who we buy,
    there`s a bunch of amateurs behind the scenes making a right pigs ear of it.

  • Paul Patterson

    To anyone advocating bringing back Mitrovic (and I haven’t a problem with him for the record) this would mean playing two up front, which is not the system Rafa plays.
    We finally have a good defence after so many years and look solid at the back and have a midfield that works to defend from the front, with Diame, Shelvey, Ritchie, Kenedy and Perez all working hard to keep the ball away from our own goal.
    Are people really suggesting tearing all that up and changing the system to accommodate someone when the simple(ish) solution is to just buy a clinical striker that will also do the running that Gayle and Joselu do just without the goals?
    £30m+ clinical striker or tear it all up and end up needing to spend even more?

    • Clarko

      ‘this would mean playing two up front’

      No it wouldn’t.

    • Popnbgd

      Serbia has qualified to WC thanks to Mitrovic as a lone striker and target man…It would not mean playing two upfront…

  • Mxpx

    Laughable really were desperate to sign a striker and we have one on the books that we’d be thrilled with if he was coming in as a new signing the real issue with mitrovic isn’t his own personal issue it’s rafa he will not play a system to include a proper number 9 we saw it with slimani as well he was stuck up top isolated without service because our midfield is sat too far back to effectively support a striker i feel that rafa should be able to set a team up to be able to accommodate a number 9 and play more attacking football essentially mitrovic is a square peg in a round hole unfortunately we can’t bring back Bobby Robson but the way our 2003-2006 was setup with young energetic players doing the running around shearer would suit mitrovic perfectly and well we’d be alot more fun to watch too

    • Dillon Tovak

      Rafa would actually have to be able to sign players to change anything about the team set up.

  • Desree

    If he scores 5 at the world cup someone will pay 50m