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Opinion

Mitrovic issue proves to me that sometimes Rafa doesn’t really help himself

1 year ago
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I have been lucky enough to see every game at the World Cup so far. Earlier today I watched Serbia’s 1-0 win over Costa Rica. Much was said about the performance of Aleksandar Mitrovic, especially on social media. Quite rightly, most people highlighted the big chance that Mitrovic failed with in the second half, in which he went through on goal but struck the ball straight at Navas. Granted, he should have buried it, but I actually thought that he was the best player on the pitch… by a good distance too.

Everything that Serbia did well, went through Mitrovic. His hold up play was second to none, he won his fair share of headers, and he was as strong as an ox all day. All things we know he can do, but on top of that, he looked like he had an extra yard of pace and was tricky with the ball.

Yes, he missed a big chance, but this is nothing new. Mitrovic’ discipline has never been that much of a problem for me. If anything, the one thing that has frustrated me most about him is the amount of half-decent chances that he misses. I simply go with the idea that if Rafa doesn’t like him then that’s just the way it is.

Talk is that we are looking for 20 million for Mitrovic. Let’s say that we do get rid of him for 20 million, who are we going to bring in?

I watched the Denmark game yesterday and saw Jorgensen for the first time, a player who we were apparently close to signing. All I saw was a player similar to Mitrovic who wasn’t as good as Mitrovic. Jorgensen lacked strength, pace, and was completely isolated at times. I am sure most people who watched that game yesterday would have to admit that Peru were by far the better side, despite the scoreline. Likewise, I saw the same thing with Slimani, a ‘less good’ version of Mitrovic, albeit we didn’t see that much of him!

I could understand Rafa wanting rid of Mitro if he was wanting to bring in a different type of player… maybe he wants a player who is going to do all the running and press the backline, or a player like Gayle who is going to get in behind. Yet it seems, based on the countless links so far, that Rafa wants to bring in a player of a similar physical mould to Aleksandar Mitrovic.

It is this that I don’t understand, especially given the restricted time frame this summer because of the new transfer window and the World Cup.

If you are to believe Lee Ryder in the Sunday Sun this morning (I know the guys at the Chronicle don’t know anything that is going on, but humour me) then Newcastle can’t bring any real players in until they have sold the likes of Sels, Mbemba, Mitro, Merino. This is more amusing after Chronicle ran several stories saying Newcastle would have £70+ million to spend this summer.

Anyway, it is likely that Newcastle wont be able to sell Mitrovic until Serbia are knocked out of the World Cup. Given their win earlier, you would now expect them to reach the knockout stages. So that is at least until 6th or 7th of July. That would leave Newcastle only one month to bring in a replacement striker? It doesn’t seem likely and quite frankly it doesn’t make any sense at all.

Nothing to do with Newcastle United so far this summer makes any sense at all. If this summer turns out to be anything like last summer, then we will start the season with a sub-par side.

Rafa has his hands tied behind his back by Mike Ashley, but what the Mitrovic issue proves to me, is that sometimes he really doesn’t help himself.

You can follow the author on Twitter @JonathanComyn
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