Aleksandar Mitrovic was always going to be a talking point this season.
If he flopped, everybody would be asking why on earth Newcastle ever paid £14m for him, and even worse, why did Fulham then pay £22m (which could rise to £27m).
Alternatively, if Mitro knocked the goals in, neutrals would be asking why on earth NUFC had let go a Premier League quality striker.
Six games into the season, Newcastle are in the relegation zone, having scored only four goals in total.
Whilst despite Fulham only being three places higher with three more points, Aleksandar Mitrovic has already scored five goals and is joint top PL scorer with Eden Hazard.
No doubting what most neutrals will be thinking on the Mitrovic question at the moment…
Jamie Redknapp has vocalised what many of those are thinking, after watching Mitro rescue a point against Watford and almost get the winner on Saturday he says ‘At £23m Mitrovic is an absolute bargain. What a talent he is’
So were Newcastle mugs to get rid of the Serbian forward as Jamie Redknapp indicates?
Well, yes and no.
When you see how limited Newcastle have been so far, difficult to imagine Aleksandar Mitrovic could have offered less goal threat than Joselu, Rondon, Muto and Perez.
On the other hand, the big problem surely isn’t so much selling Mitro, it is more the fact that after selling for £22m, Rafa Benitez was limited to a £2m loan for Rondon, AND had to also let Gayle go as part of that arrangement.
You have to really drill down below the headlines though to get the real story.
If Aleksandar Mitrovic was still at Newcastle and had played all six games, would he have scored five goals already? That would be a big fat no.
Fulham have spent over £100m this summer, buying players to complement and play to Mitro’s strengths, making clear their intention is to get the ball out wide and then into the centre-forward. Some quality players playing expansive football.
Have Newcastle United got those players? An even bigger fat no.
Interesting to see the BBC Sport stats on those at the top of the Premier League goalscoring charts.
These are the strikers, number of goals before the name, number of shots they have had, after the name:
5 Mitrovic 23
5 Hazard 8
4 Aguero 20
4 Lukaku 12
4 Mane 15
4 Murray 9
Mitro has had a far bigger supply line than any other striker, only Aguero close with 20 shots to the Fulham striker’s 23. If he had stayed at Newcastle, and played, I doubt whether he would have had any more than five or six shots/chances by now.
All the other strikers are from top four/six teams, apart from Murray who has had four from only nine shots, although two of his goals/shots were penalties.
Jamie Redknapp talking to Sky Sports:
“Newcastle will be looking at Aleksandar Mitrovic now and thinking ‘maybe we should have persevered with him’…
“What a talent he is!
“He has got so much ability.
“When clubs are looking for a top striker, Aleksandar Mitrovic ticks all the boxes.
“You can go direct into him.
“He can play with his feet.
“He ticks every box.
“At £23million, Mitrovic is an absolute bargain.”