Without being confirmed as yet, it does look increasingly likely that Newcastle are about to bag their second transfer of the summer in the form of Aleksandar Mitrović.
The 20-year-old Serbian striker looks set to sign for United by putting pen to paper on a five-year contract with the Magpies hopefully bringing to an end to what had threatened to become one of those protracted and frustrating deals.
I’ll confess that I know next to nothing about the lad however some fans seem to be suggesting that we’re about to witness the second coming of Jesus. Whist I remain dubious about that fact, there does seem to be a train of thought which suggests that we will have pulled off a coup in the transfer market by bagging one of the most highly-rated young strikers in Europe should the move actually be confirmed. You can check the odds of the transfer being completed, amongst other things, in this special betting promotion.
So what exactly is it that United are buying into? As mentioned previously, prior to us being linked with the striker I actually didn’t know too much about him. I knew of him (mainly from watching Anderlecht in the Champions League), but that isn’t to say that I know all about him. Nevertheless I’ve been reading up on him, collating thoughts, studying his record and analyzing video footage to try and bring you the pros and cons of Aleksandar Mitrović, starting with the cons.
At 6ft 2in he is certainly no shrinking violet on the pitch, and that follows him off the pitch too! Indeed one Belgian journalist once described Mitrovic as “making Mario Balotelli look normal” which could lead to some interesting times ahead if it turns out to be true.
His celebration (as pictured) also courted controversy when he first unveiled it, and that fact he hasn’t changed it would suggest he likes to do things his own way. Whilst I have my own opinion on how his celebration could be perceived, as did many others, it is apparently an answer to his critics. Essentially he is putting two fingers up to them and cutting off their tongues. Hmmm…. And quite how that would fit into an image conscious Premier League remains to be seen.
On the pitch you can’t really argue with his goal return, but his style of play has led to accusations of laziness in the past and his disciplinary record is not exactly sparkling which makes it likely that we’ll lose him to suspension at some time during the course of the season. Not that I’m expecting Mary Poppins from a player who is essentially still a young lad, but maybe some of that aggression needs to be curbed.
Just expanding on that last point, I’d counter the laziness part of the argument by saying that I’d prefer the strikers to be up front, you know where the goal they are supposed to be scoring into is. And aggression, channeled correctly, can actually be a good thing.
Goal return is something else that we’re buying. It’s been impressive to date and he’s bagged 69 goals in 158 senior club appearances which is a goal every 2.2 games, which is not bad at all. Granted those aren’t Premier League goals but if you watch the video below you’ll see that the majority of goal actually come about through being in the right place at the right time.
Mitrovic, should he arrive, has been courted by some of the biggest sides in the Premier League and beyond. Now a lot of that may have just been newspaper speculation but it seems he has an admirer in the form of Jose Mourinho. The Chelsea boss spoke about Mitrovis after watching score for Serbia against Croatia and is quoted as saying:
“Mitrovic was the best player on the pitch. He managed to keep the ball well and that was the key. That boy has everything to be a European star.”
High praise from the Special One!
Now any transfer is a risk. I’ve seen people pitch for Charlie Austin because he’s done it in the Premier League but realistically he’s done it for one season and nobody knows if he will replicate it again. The same can be said for Mitrovic – nobody knows how it will work out, if indeed it does turn out that he signs for us.
But what we are seeing is a pitch up in ambition of signings, and at the very least that is the most positive thing that we’ve seen for a long time.