Benitez delivers long-term verdict on Newcastle star striker, fans will love this
By Danny Wright
Rafa Benitez has denied that the club have any plans to sell Aleksandar Mitrovic despite rumours that Paris St. German made an offer for him in January.
The 22-year-old was also reported to be attracting the attention of Crystal Palace and Swansea.
However Benitez has stated in an interview with the Chronicle that the striker is still very much a part of his plans at St. James’ Park.
The importance of Mitrovic to the club has been proven recently with top goalscorer Dwight Gayle ruled out with injury.
“I can read news about him all the time, that means someone close to him was interested to do business,” Benitez said.
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“But I said straight away that he would stay, and his reaction when he was not playing was brilliant.
“He fought for his position and I am happy with these kind of problems.”
The Serbian international came back into the side and has impressed both the fans and his manager with a run of good performances which saw him score a crucial goal in their 1-0 away win at Wolves.
His decision to recall Gayle to the side for Monday’s win over Aston Villa was not well received by fans who suspected he wasn’t 100 per cent fit and want to see the Serbian international get more chances in the starting 11.
Gayle limped off after just 33 minutes with a hamstring problem.
Mitrovic arrived at St. James’ Park from Anderlecht in 2015 for a deal reported to be around £13million. He also had spells at Partizan Belgrade and Teleoptik before his time in Belgium.
The striker has six goals in 22 appearances in all competitions this season for the Magpies.
He suffered last season, notching just nine in 36 appearances in all domestic games as Newcastle were relegated from the Premier League.
Football Insider Verdict
This is great news for Newcastle because if PSG really wanted Mitrovic they would have to pay a lot of money to get him. Benitez says he is part of his plans and he doesn’t want to sell him so this instantly puts the Magpies in a strong position.
Mitrovic has not given his thoughts on the speculation yet, although silence can be assumed as golden and the Serb has done his talking on the pitch with a run of good performances.
Now Mitrovic needs to push on and start scoring more goals – his return rate still isn’t good enough to push for a regular first-team place unless Gayle is out.
However, he definitely has the talent to play a vital part in the push for promotion and in a Premier league squad next season.
In other Newcastle news, Paul Merson delivers his prediction for the club’s next game against Bristol City.