Rafa Benitez has confirmed that an agreement has at last been reached on Aleksandar Mitrovic leaving Newcastle United.

The striker joining Fulham and Rafa wishing him all the best: ‘Hopefully he can score a lot of goals but not against us.’

Having given the Serbian striker only 11 starts in the Championship and none at all last season in the Premier League, it was obvious Mitro had no future at the club, at least whilst Rafa is still here.

Last summer saw Mike Ashley price the striker out of a move, demanding a minimum of £16m.

Hitting lucky with a decent loan spell at Fulham and an ok World Cup with Serbia, despite only converting one of 14 chances that came his way, Ashley has got lucky with Fulham reported to have agreed to pay £22m. Sky Sports claiming the eventual fee could be £27m if the player hits certain targets at his new club.

However, of more immediate interest for Rafa Benitez is the relationship between transfers in and out this summer.

The manager has stated he had to sell players before he could buy, with most fans and Rafa Benitez seemingly, expecting that any sale prices will be available to spend.

Not an ideal situation whatsoever, considering how much net spending is going on at other clubs, on top of any money generated from sales.

At the moment, the NUFC situation now looks to be £42m from sales (Mitro £22m, Mbemba £6m, Merino £10m, Sels £4m) and £7m so far going out on buys (Dubravka £4m, £3m Schar).

A profit so far of £35m, even once Muto’s deal goes through for £9.5m, that still means Rafa Benitez is over £25m up on transfers at the minute.

No wonder the Newcastle manager declares ‘I don’t control the accounts but if you do the maths we have enough money (to bring in another striker).’

With the shock news of Lejeune’s injury, the manager now needs another central defender as well, with obviously other positions as well needing strengthening, as Rafa has a squad with next to no depth.

What a position to be put in, Rafa Benitez needing to make such difficult/impossible decisions, when even a modest transfer budget of £30m or so (on top of sales) could have given the manager the freedom to at least be able to do a slightly ambition level of wheeling and dealing.

With indications that Dwight Gayle could also go, that would add at least £10m-£15m surely, meaning potentially £40m or so in credit on transfers, even after the Muto deal.

Time is of the essence with 11 days to go until transfer deadline, the obstacles that have been put in Rafa’s way by Mike Ashley making the manager’s job as difficult as possible this summer.

Rafa Benitez:

“I wish Aleksandar Mitrovic all the best, I think it (transfer to Fulham) is done.

“I think he has an agreement with Fulham and I wish him all the best.

“Hopefully he can score a lot of goals but not against us.

“But it’s something we were expecting and it’s now a case of looking to see if we can bring someone else to replace him.

“We are working and trying to bring in new players to bring in new competition.

“It means we can bring in another striker and we can be stronger.

“We did this business with Muto because we needed to do something more (as well as another new striker)).

“I don’t control the accounts but if you do the maths we have enough money (to bring in another striker).

 “Muto is done but it’s just waiting for the work permit.

“He played in the World Cup in a good team and he has done well in the Bundesliga, so we are talking about a striker that is doing well in the last few years at international level.

“He has quality and can bring us energy and good movement, plus the intensity you need. I don’t see any problem with him.”

  • Tino11

    Ashley out!

  • relaxed

    Well worth a listen
    PODCAST: Newcastle United Supporters Trust on #ifrafagoeswego + Live from Porto Post Game Pod

    • Dingus

      Excellent podcast. Thank you for sharing

  • Paul Patterson


    • GToon

      Funny. You could have taken that a bit further tho Paul.

  • GToon

    22 million. So that’s 12m to mike, 8m to mash holdings to help pay off the losses from last year, 2m to agents and then every last penny to Rafa.

    • Jezza

      That’s exactly what Rafa will get out of that £22 million. The last penny.

  • Polarboy

    On rumours it’s looking like Rondon and possibly Ings. If we swap Gayle for Rondon and use the Mitrovic money for Ings I would be happy enough with them along with Muto. We’d still need a number 10, full back cover, centre back cover for Lejeune, and competition on the wings.

    • Clarko

      I highly doubt we will buy a third striker, Muto will replace Gayle and Rondon will replace Mitrovic and that will be it.

      • Polarboy

        We can only live in hope, but the rumours for Ings seem pretty strong.

        • MichaelMaximusMoose

          Liverpool want £26m for Ings so you can forget about that

          • Polarboy

            I thought it was 20 for Ings and 26 for Origi.

          • Jezza

            Whether it’s £20 million or £26 million, it’s all academic with this owner. Ashley won’t allow £20 million of the profits to go on a striker. The re-investement from the Mitro money has gone on Muto. That’s our new striker. That’s your lot.

          • Polarboy

            I can only pray that in the next week and a half that doesn’t turn out to be that case with regard expenditure. If it is that means a long hard season and Rafa away at the end of it, unless of course Ashley sells before then or when the season ends. I’m not hopeful but I’m going to be praying up until the window closes.

        • Clarko

          The rumours seemed to stem from Paul Hirst of The Times who said that Ings had been the ‘subject of bids from Newcastle United, Leicester City and Southampton’. After that was posted Lee Ryder responded saying that there had ‘not been an outgoing bid for Ings’ from Newcastle.

          We know Newcastle are in talks to sign Rondon, it looks like it will happen with Gayle going the other way, that would leave Newcastle with Rondon, Muto and Joselu fighting for one spot (in the the 4231 system) with Perez as an alternative fourth choice, buying Ings on top of that would just be a waste unless Benitez plans to use Muto as a SS/CAM which seems highly unlikely.

          • Polarboy

            I don’t think it is unlikely that Benitez would use Muto as a ss/cam. He’s played in a wide forward position before and as part of a two if I’m not mistaken. As for Joselu I think Rafa would be happy to put him in the bin if he can get who he wants though the door, or at least better than him through it. Gayle isn’t you’re typical number 9 in the premier, although we did play him through the middle last year, but Muto is even less typical given his build.

          • Clarko

            I think it’s unlikely. In his 66 games in the Bundesliga he played as a ST in 61 of those games (3 as a SS, 1 as a CAM and 1 as a LW), Mainz used many different systems last season but the majority of the time they played in a single striker formation (23 times), Muto being the preferred choice. It’s being “advertised” that Muto is a replacement for Gayle and that makes sense based on the type of played we think he is (similar to Gayle), this adds to the idea that he will be used as a striker. You mention his ‘build’ as a reason for him not being utilised as a striker (he’s actually taller than Gayle), I think that’s a bit of a weak argument, a players build doesn’t determine their ability as a striker.

            Again, this isn’t me declaring that there is absolutley no chance that he will play anywhere else other than at striker, I’m just saying that given the information that we have, it’s unlikely that he’s been brought in to play as a CAM (the Perez role).

          • Polarboy

            We’ll see but I see Rondon starting and Muto coming on late at the very least, if not playing in a support position to Rondon from the start. I think the main reason Gayle got so much play last season is because Rafa didn’t have the choice of playing a target man given how poor Joselu was. Rafa has consistently shown the desire to have a target man in his teams over the years and Muto is not that.

          • Jate Legend

            So let’s assume we straight swap Gayle for rondon for a second. Doesn’t that leave us with a surplus of about 35m after selling nitro. I think your right about not buying another striker although I’m worried about the ones we have. And I understand the crack about most of the money coming in instalments etc. But surely Rafa must be looking at bringing in a couple more faces. Apart from London the rumour mill seems to have dried up, which is a bit concerning.

          • Clarko

            Yeah the hope/plan is that we swap Gayle for Rondon and then the money generated from the Mitrovic sale (and any money we have made from other sales) will be used to bring in a LB (Joe Bryan), CB (to replace Lejeune) and potentially a CAM.

        • Foggy

          LIverpool are quoted as wanting 20 mill for Ings. A player they bought for about 7 mill and has been injured from day 1 and is very clearly surplus to requirements. That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

          • Polarboy

            I agree that it’s expensive but that’s what the prices are now. When he was bought from Burnley it was by tribunal that the price was come to, and again it was before prices went mental. Given his injuries I only rate him at 12-15 million but I’d rather have him than not have him.

          • Jezza

            Agreed. We have fallen so far behind in the transfer spending stakes under Ashley that even if we were to break our transfer record now we would get very little for our money. When we broke our transfer record in 1996 we got the best striker in the country and one of the best in the World. Now breaking our transfer record will only get us a crocked Liverpool reserve.

  • 1957

    In any other football club the maths would mean we could buy a new striker of quality, at NUFC I suspect it will mean swapping Gayle for Rondon and the money banked

    • HarryHype59


  • HarryHype59

    Unless Fulham have paid a significant percentage of the £20m upfront, it is highly unlikely Rafa will get anything out the Mitro deal. The money will be diverted in to MASH or St. James (Ashley’s) accounts.

    Looks like the Fat Man has rolled the premiership survival dice again.

  • X,WHY,Y MAN.

    It will end in the same way Keegan said when the money was banked for the Andy Carroll to Liverpool deal.
    That time it was Alan Pardew this time it is Benitez : “You Aren’t Going To See Any Of That Money Rafa” !

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Only customers of Del-Boy would believe that the Pig will lay out £16m for a striker

  • Ba ba.

    Has anyone actually asked rafa why he does not rate nitro?
    And if they have do we know what his reply was.

    • Polarboy

      He doesn’t like risking his life in car races. He leaves it to Vin and his buddies.

      • Ba ba.

        Ha ha mitro

        • Polarboy

          In all seriousness though I don’t think he’s ever directly addressed why he doesn’t rate Mitrovic. He has spoken about his discipline or lack there of on occasion I think. If I had to guess I’d say his lack of discipline, pace, and tactical astuteness is why he doesn’t rate him. Rafa’s favoured counter attacking style also obviously relies on pace.

          • Ba ba.

            Ya right but would be nice just to hear it from him.. 👍

    • Keeganontherebound

      He’s savvy enough to not slaughter a player in public. When he’s been asked about not playing Mitro he’s come up with stuff along the lines of others deserve their chance, Mitro needs to work hard in training and he’ll get his opportunity. If he’d publicly given a detailed assessment of why he doesn’t think he’s good enough it wouldn’t have done much for his market value…I suspect he thinks he doesn’t take enough chances, is too slow and not good at following a tactical plan.

      • Ba ba.

        Cool… .👍

    • SuperDesHamilton

      I’ll Save you the time mackem, he’s useless & untrustworthy

  • Leicester Mag

    Ashley’s accountancy is like quantum mechanics, the money moves as soon as you try to determine where it is. It also exists at the same time as it doesn’t. That combined with the fact that Einstein couldn’t fathom them the loss last year.

    • skarabrae

      Schrödinger’s cat= Ashley’s cash 😂😂😂

    • Superdooperhooper

      Yep it’s the ball under the cups routine Sleight of hand. What about the money from the shirt sales at SD ? Does anyone know where that goes ?

  • Wezza

    Muto is Mitrovic’s cheaper replacement. We won’t be getting anyone else in.

  • SuperDesHamilton

    Not that Mitrovic will be missed, what’s he done for us for two years? But it’s the simple fact the money won’t be reinvested & Gayle will go so that’ll make two strikers out & 1 in yet again weakening the squad

    • Vodkamagpie

      How is weakening the squad when mitrovic hasn’t been involved in rafas team selections

  • Jate Legend

    I suppose the question is “is rondon/muto/joselu/Perez a better quartet of strikers than mitrovic/Gayle/joselu/Perez?”

  • Wezza

    With 126M TV money we had enough to buy a striker!

  • Wezza

    “I don’t control the accounts but if you do the maths we have enough money (to buy a striker).”

    MA will have done instalments so Rafa will have been conveniently fooled, undermined and lied to yet again.
    You have to admire his professionalism to still be here.

  • JohnnyNUFC

    Is Mangala still available for loan?