Aleksandar Mitrovic was widely expected to be a Fulham player by the end of this week but instead he could be heading back to Newcastle’s training ground, with a reported return date of tomorrow after his post-World Cup extended holiday.
Sky Sports say that their information is that there is a £2m gap between the valuations of the two clubs, with Fulham said to only want to pay £16m and Newcastle £18m. This goes against media claims yesterday (see below) that a £20m fee had been agreed between the two clubs and just the medical to get through. The Cottagers have already spent £25m+ on a midfielder so don’t appear scared to flash the cash for targets that they really want, Sky Sports though report that talks do continue between the clubs.
To be honest, I would be amazed if Mike Ashley would even allow Aleksandar Mitrovic to leave for that claimed £18m figure.
A year ago, Rafa Benitez desperately wanted to sell him so he could have cash towards a striker he would want, however, despite only 11 Championship starts and four goals, Ashley was insisting on at least £16m for the Serbian striker.
The NUFC owner’s refusal to bend, meant that Rafa Benitez was left with a striker he doesn’t want to play and forced to bring in £5m Joselu from Stoke reserves. Mitro not making a single Premier League appearance last season.
With 12 goals despite only 18 Championship starts for loan club Fulham, the striker then followed it up with a mixed bag of a World Cup – a fair bit of good all round team play but scoring only one goal from 14 chances.
A couple more goals and maybe Mike Ashley could by now have banked £20m+ but reality is that Aleksandar Mitrovic is still to really convince in the Premier League.
Which leaves us with a nightmare possibility of a rerun of last summer with just 16 days until transfer deadline, Mike Ashley potentially insisting on an unrealistic price and Rafa left with a striker he doesn’t want to play and the owner not letting him bring in a credible forward he does want to play.
Monday 23 July 2018:
News from London on Monday morning that a deal for Aleksandar Mitrovic to move to Fulham has reportedly already been agreed.
The 23 year old striker is due back in the UK this week (previously reported by the Chronicle he is due back at Newcastle on Wednesday 25 July) but according to Football.London, instead of Newcastle United’s training ground he will be making his way to London.
They report that their understanding is that a deal has already been agreed between the two club.
A transfer fee of £20m having been settled on, with as usual Mike Ashley insisting on it being paid in instalments.
With Besiktas goalkeeper Fabri also set to sign for Fulham, it would take the promoted club’s net spending to over £50m when Mitrovic is included, with also other targets still to be pursued.
As for Rafa Benitez, he is waiting for players to be sold before he is allowed to buy any players, so hopefully at the very least he will get a striker in if/when Mitro eventually departs.
With a medical at Fulham apparently set for midweek, that then gives only two weeks at the most before the transfer window closes.
Despite the savage restraints Mike Ashley has imposed on the manager’s ambitions this transfer window, last week Rafa Benitez did say he was at least confident he would get a striker.
That increasingly looks likely to be Salomon Rondon, with Mitrovic’ departure very likely waited for before that deal with West Brom can be confirmed.
Monday morning has also seen the Chronicle claiming that Rafa wants at least one more signing before the club leave for Portugal later this week, with games against Porto on Saturday (21 July) and Braga next Wednesday (1 August) to come.
If indeed Newcastle are to have a new main striker for the new season, little doubt that Rafa will want him involved in as much of these last two and a half weeks of pre-season as possible.
‘It’s believed a deal for the striker (Aleksandar Mitrovic) is done between the two clubs.
‘With Fulham paying the £20million fee to Newcastle in instalments, although a medical is still to be completed.’