The Newcastle United career of Serbian striker Aleksandar Mitrovic has been a dramatic one, and his time on Tyneside have left fans divided into two main camps.
One one hand, you have the members of the Toon Army who applaud the 23-year-old for his passion and enthusiasm on the pitch, willing to let his dedication to the cause mask his apparent struggles in front of goal and hoping that he can still forge a career on Tyneside.
On the other, you have the supporters who see Mitrovic as a striker who simply is not good enough for the Magpies, and that his 17 goals in 72 appearances is a record not befitting a Premier League centre forward, no matter his impassioned displays – although either way, he will always be considered a cult favourite.
As for manager Rafael Benitez, he would likely fall into the latter category, unimpressed by his performances in front of goal and lacking the trust required in his striker after a series of misdemeanours, which included a three match ban for violent conduct earlier this season.
Some would say that the Serbian’s mightily impressive form for Fulham, where he headed on loan in January, would be enough to have the Spaniard scratching his head over a potential future on Tyneside.
However, Mitrovic’s own comments seem to have put any hopes of that to bed, and he appears to have sounded his own death knell.
Speaking to Sky Sports, he talked about how he needed to feel confidence from the manager in order to perform at his best – and considering Benitez’s lack of confidence, it does not look good.
He said: “Faith, trust and game-time – that’s important if you are a striker.
“If you really feel trust from the manager, it’s much easier to play. That’s what I feel now (at Fulham). I know that he (Slavisa Jokanovic) believes in me and I know what he wants from me.”
The Serb’s fellow countryman might well trust the powerhouse forward, but Benitez simply does not, and if that is what he needs from a manager, then he needs to start looking for an exit strategy for his time at Newcastle is as good as dead.
In other Newcastle United transfer news, the club are eyeing up a stunning double swoop from their fierce rivals.