Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic has admitted he is looking to sign Aleksandar Mitrovic permanently this summer – suggesting the striker is keen to stay too – however a deal is out of his hands and something not nearly as straightforward as some may think.
Before I look at a few reasons why his permanent move to Craven Cottage may fail to materialise this summer, here’s Jokanovic’s latest comments on the Serbian – confirming his intentions but admitting that he is still a Newcastle player:
“He made a great job for us, club took the right decision to bring him to help us.
“I don’t know what will happen in the future, first of all he is a Newcastle player and ahead of him is the World Cup.
“I know he is really happy with the team, with the club, with the city and for another side he knows I am satisfied with level he offer us.
“Everything is open, part of another side if you ask me about if I want him with us, yes I want.
“If you ask if they want to stay it’s probably a yes, but in realistic life we are going to see.
“This job is for another side and not under my control.”
So, everyone at Fulham and Mitrovic’s party seem like they’re ready to get a deal done, but there’s still a few doubts hanging over the deal from my perspective.
1 – Would Rafa sell to a rival? History suggests no – and why should he..
If Fulham get promoted (which looks very possible) then they will be a Premier League rival of ours next season.
Remember when Brighton and West Brom wanted Mitrovic in January? Rafa made it clear that he had absolutely no intention in selling a player of Mitrovic’s ability to a direct rival. Whilst you’d hope we’ll be looking to push on in the top 10 next season (not compete for safety with Fulham), they are still going to be a team competing with us all season.
Rafa may know Fulham fit Mitrovic’s style perfectly, seeing how much he’s enjoying himself at Craven Cottage, but he won’t do him or Fulham any favours if it could negatively impact Newcastle United.
Aside from all of that, they may not even get promoted. That would mean they wouldn’t be any sort of rival, but would he sign for a Championship team (given the interest he’ll receive) and could they afford him without the cash-boost of promotion?
2- His price tag will have rocketed – and rightly so in this day and age
In this day and age, a 23-year-old talent scoring goals for fun in England (and at international level) should demand a pretty hefty price tag.
Remember when we wanted Tom Cairney last summer but they played hard ball and rejected an alleged £25m bid? We should have the same sort of stance on Mitrovic. He’s several years younger, has higher potential and the market has only got more inflated since then.
We may end up meeting half way (especially given we were looking to flog him for around £15m just a few months ago), but two can play this game and his recent form will have certainly upped his price.
There’ll also be plenty interest, so if they don’t get promoted, they could be priced out of a move.