Who is Aleksandar Mitrović?

Mitrovic celebrates
Mitrovic celebrates
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.

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.

Pros

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.

About toonsy

A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.

197 thoughts on “Who is Aleksandar Mitrović?

  1. STUART

    I know what you’re saying, but that’s like saying Carroll was really worth £35m or Torres £50m. Sometimes you’re better off dodging a player for that kind of money. He is already 26 too so it’s not as if he’s a promising whippersnapper. If he showing signs of being a top top player, you’d think a PL club would have bought him years ago.

    He might turn out to be the next Ian Wright, but that’s a big risk for £15m. Sounds like a better bet to sign this 20 year old that the likes of Chelsea and Athletico were rumoured to be chasing.

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  2. I don’t believe for a minute that we’re going to sign Mitrovic AND Austin. Why would we?

    We’d then have Mitrovic, Austin, Cisse, Riviere, SDJ and Perez.

    A huge turnover of players costs a fortune, so I’d rather the next signing after a striker and CB, is a full back.

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  3. STUART

    Depends how good. He’ll be 27 then with just 2 seasons in the top flight. It’s a gamble really right? If Liverpool want to spend £32.5m for Benteke rather than £15m for Austin, then that says quite a bit to me. Mind you, they spent £35m on Carroll…

    I just hope, if we get it wrong, Austin goes to Villa, and he turns out to be excellent, that people don’t slam our club too much for not signing him. I bet West Ham, Saints, Spurs and others would be regretting it too in that situation.

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  4. I suppose on the other hand someone who scores goals in the top flight is worth more than £15m. Austin scored more goals than Benteke and his team were relegated yet Liverpool pay £32.5m… You also need to take into account the premium paid for English players for some reason. Midfielders are regularly going for more than £15m these days. With TV money as it is you won’t get a domestic goal scorer for less than that. Rightly or wrongly.

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  5. This Austin saga needs ending really . He has been odds on with Us, Chelsea, West Ham, then Us again and now Villa 🙄 Bookies looking a bit stupid though much richer 😉

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  6. STUART

    Benteke barely played any games.

    It’s not just about scoring, it’s about scoring consistently. Carroll, Zaki, Ricketts, Scowcroft, Beattie, Jeffers…all names I can think of that scored a lot of goals in the top flight in a short space of time but didn’t do it consistently.

    I agree, £15m for an English striker who can bag 15+ goals a season is about the going rate. Questions are, firstly would he bag 15+ goals a season and secondly can we get a 20+ goal a season man for the same money? Or a 15+ goal a season man who is several years younger…

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  7. Thats the risk of all transfers. Some would say it’s a big risk to spend £12.5m on a 20 year old who has never played in the PL. I would be prepared to take the risk and I think I would be prepared to pay £12.5m for Austin but that’s because I haven’t seen enough of him play so don’t know whether he is worth £15m. But 18 goals in a relegated team takes some doing and he has scored goals every season in whatever league he has been in. So maybe he would be worth the risk, who knows.

    Personally I think he will end up going for £13.5-£14m.

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  8. I’m going to stick my neck out and suggest that I think we’ll get Austin. On the one hand, nowt will come of the alleged Chelsea interest, so he’ll be choosing between the likes of us, WBA and Leicester. I think we’ll match their bids, in the end. The signings we have made mark greater intent on our part (and I think that we’ll additionally sign another defender and midfielder), so unless his wife really won’t move north I think he’ll go for us. Cisse will deffo move on.

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  9. TDS@161, It’s entirely possible to be rich and stupid, you only need look at various reality stars to know that 😉 If an idiot wins the lotto, he is rich but still an idiot.

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  10. STUART

    The old saying “scored goals in whatever league he was in” is pretty weak. You’d certainly expect a striker that scores 18 in the PL to have scored in the lower leagues, but I’m not sure why that’s relevant to playing in the PL.

    I’m not a professional scout either, so I’ll comfortable leave it to those who are to make the decision on whether we go for him or not.

    I think Villa need him more than we do. And as the likes of Saints, Spurs and Everton don’t seem to be in for him, it seems the concensus is that he’s a bottom half PL striker.

    26 year old striker with one season in the PL and no England caps don’t forget.

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  11. KIM

    Haha. That much is true…

    But the bookies getting rich from being bookies certainly isn’t down to stupidity…

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  12. I’m not sure it’s a weak argument. If a striker can finish, he can finish, it’s as simple as that and that’s the hardest thing to do in the game. Mitrovic has scored 1 goal in 13 games for his country. Does that mean he’s a risk because at the highest level he’s got a bad record?

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  13. So in the tour of the States, we’ve played a pre-season Mexican outfit. A team who are 4th in their ‘third division’. Next we play a MLS B / U23 team. Portland timbers 2.
    I know it’s pre-season but it’s now less than 3 weeks to go till we kick off against Southampton in the Premier league. Shouldn’t the club have arranged a game against better opposition by now? There is a testimonial against Sheffield United, a game at York City. Only the game against Borussia Mönchengladbach looks to be a sufficient test in preparation for Southampton. That’s not meaning to disrespect those other teams but they are all ‘third division’ or lower quality, aside from the Mexican team.

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  14. STUART

    The PL has been littered with strikers who have scored in other leagues and divisions but couldn’t cut it in the PL. You know this as well as I do.

    I remember when Jonathon Stead scored a bucket load with Huddersfield in League One, then got a transfer to Blackburn, started well and people were demanding he got picked for England!

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  15. Tim KrulVerified account
    ‏@TimKrul 10 years ago on this day I signed for this great football club.! It’s been an amazing journey. #adoptedgeordie #NUFC

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  16. DJG

    I always saw pre-season as just to get players match fit really. Secondary priority these days is to promote the club in other countries.

    I’m not sure how important the opponents are so I don’t watch them any more to be honest…only interesting to see a new player or new style.

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  17. KIM

    Saw some lovely quotes from Krul recently regarding WJ too. Seems he loves the club, which is great!

    I can’t believe he’d leave unless a really top club wanted him as their number 1. And I don’t think he’s quite good enough for that.

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  18. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2938744/Premier-League-pre-season-2015-track-s-fixtures-results.html

    I suppose it depends what level the club is at. Interesting to look at the ‘top 8’ clubs and the sort of games they have arranged (we are supposedly going for top 8). Southampton by the time they play us will be well up an running.

    July 23: Feyenoord (De Kuip, Rotterdam) 7pm
    July 30: Vitesse Arnhem (Europa League third qualifying round – St Mary’s) TBC
    August 2: Espanyol (St Mary’s) 3pm
    August 6: Vitesse Arnhem (Europa League third qualifying round – GelreDome) TBC

    We will probably still be trying to sign Mitrovic. 😛

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  19. DJG

    Liverpool’s is no tougher than ours.

    The club has been slated in previous seasons for taking glamour pre-season fixtures that serve little purpose and failing to exploit foreign markets to boost the club’s profile. Looks like they’re focussing on the latter to me.

    Besides, sometimes it’s better to play against these teams that are trying really hard rather than a Real team going through the motions and making loads of subs.

    I still don’t think the quality of opposition matter too much in pre-season. It’s not about results, it’s about the performances and getting match fit

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  20. Does anything change at NUFC:

    Cabella – thigh op
    Riviere – knee op
    Marveaux – hernia op
    Dummett – out (not sure of the cause)
    Coloccini – Achilles problem

    This is on top of our sicknotes from last season who have yet to prove their fitness – Taylor, Tiote, Aarons, De Jong and Cisse. We topped that league of number of days players are out through injury by a wide margin. I would suggest that anybody just looking at the first team and saying we are almost set is delusional and that selling “squad” players is very risky for us until our injury record improves.

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  21. I have watched both the USA games and de Jong is miles away from match fitness (hopefully tomorrow he shows more mobility) and they are babying Aarons and Taylor.

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  22. Eric, we can only hope our new fitness guys and coaches rectify the injury problems that seem to constantly beset us.

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  23. ERIC

    If you also look at the number of players that would be considered our first team, then it’s huge. We simply have to get rid of players as we can’t register them all in our 25.

    Cabella looks to be back fairly soon I think, not sure about the others but are they really big losses? It’s a good time to sort out niggles with minor ops too.

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  24. Eric, That lung problem will take yonks to get right, took me 8 months to recover from a double lobe pneumonia in the 90’s and I dropped a stone and a half in 6 weeks at the start of it.

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  25. That’s good news isn’t it? SDJ, Aarons and Taylor all playing? 3 weeks to get match fit. No need to rush, we want them all 100% for the 1st day of the season.

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  26. ERIC

    You’re getting that from dubious sources from what I can tell. There’s no clear news and physioroom.com is reporting he’s back at the end of this month.

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  27. TDS: I am just pointing out that we seem to be having a few injury issues AGAIN and the season hasn’t even started. Our history was that players are “close” and then have a setback – de Jong and Aarons especially.

    Kim: the good news for de Jong is that it has already been about 4 months and you would think with constant supervision of exercise and diet that he isn’t far off – hopefully 90% by the first game?

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  28. ERIC

    Well, SDJ didn’t have a setback. He had a completely different injury to the first one he had with us. Nobody could have predicted that. Aarons…fair enough…I think he was rushed back. Hopefully new fitness people and protocols will stop that from happening.

    I’m just saying that it seems like pretty minor injuries at this stage and we do have a big squad of players. If we can keep our key players fit for most of the season, I’ll be very happy though! I’d say those would be Krul, new CB, Janmaat, Colback, Sissoko, WJ and Mitrovic/new striker. Big squad other than that so will be interesting to see who stays and who goes.

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  29. TDS – You seem to almost belittling Austin’s achievement of scoring 18 PL goals in one season. Why? He scored them in a team that got relegated too. So we can’t put Austin in the catogory of lower division players who don’t cut it in the PL because he has done it. Stead didn’t do it, nor did Beckford. Austin has!

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  30. ERIC

    Since when did L’Equip get the inside scoop on the fitness of NUFC players? We know they make up complete crap most of the time to pull people in. I’m not saying it’s not true but it sounds like they’re just clutching at straws.

    As for the photo of Cabella, I bet they did that straight after the injury to boost the healing process and prevent further injury. It could be days, weeks or months. Don’t know until we get the official line.

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  31. I think the time too worry how fit our players look is the last pre season frendily. If they are being trained and prepared properly we will see a fit team in that game.As for the injuries i wonder how many are real ? Maybe a few of those injured are not wanting too play because they are looking for new clubs because they know their time is up with us . Abied was supposed to be injured , hence not on the plane too the USA ,then out of the blue he is flown out and all of a sudden 2 french teams want him.Maybe he heard from his agent and all of a sudden his injury is healed in time for him to play a game and prove too the clubs he Will pass the medicals.

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  32. STUART

    I’m not putting him in that category. I’m saying he could be in the category with Jeffers, Ricketts, Carroll, Scowcroft, Zaki and others who all did it in one season and failed after.

    What I’m saying is that clearly he’s a decent striker, but there are dozens of decent strikers who can score in the lower leagues. His one season in the PL was impressive but it’s not a given by a long shot. I reckon we’d prefer to sign a 20 year old hot prospect rather than a 26 year old who may or may not cut it long term.

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  33. Eric, my point was that a pneumonia did me for 8 months so a collapsed lung is gonna be a lot longer to recover from. Don’t forget it happened to him twice too, poor sod.

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  34. KIM

    I reckon he was a bit fitter than you though lad. 😉

    But yeah, it can’t be an easy recovery! Hopefully he can get back to 100% as he has some lovely touches when he plays. Looks like he has a good football brain too. Bit like a Sheringham perhaps…

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