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9th Mar, 2017 | 8:50am

Benitez makes big decision over future of Newcastle 22-year-old as PL beckons - report

By Matt Farr

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez is prepared to let Aleksandar Mitrovic leave the club at the end of the season, according to a report.

Mitrovic, 22, has fallen down the pecking order at Newcastle this season, and now finds himself as Benitez’s third choice goalscorer behind Dwight Gayle and Daryl Murphy.

He has been axed from Newcastle’s last two matchday squads in the Championship, with the Sun claiming that the striker is headed for a summer exit.

The Serbian international has both struggled for consistency and in scoring goals this season, and Benitez is believe to be willing to cut Newcastle’s losses on the player.

He moved to St James’ Park from Anderlecht in July 2015 for a reported £13million, but he has scored just 15 goals from 59 appearances in all competitions.

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With Newcastle firmly on course to seal promotion back to the Premier League ahead of next season, Benitez is expected to strengthen the club’s firepower in the summer transfer market, and Mitrovic is likely to be sacrificed for a proven top flight goalscorer.

Mitrovic has already attracted attention from a number of clubs from Italy’s Serie A, while it is also believed that several sides at the bottom of the Premier League might be willing to take a chance on him.

Football Insider verdict

Mitrovic arrived at Newcastle for a considerable transfer fee and a huge weight of expectation, but he has so far yet to fulfil his potential. He could not score the goals required to keep Newcastle in the Premier League this season, while he has failed to take his limited opportunities in the first team this season, scoring just four goals. Benitez is expected to upgrade the squad for their pending Premier League return, and Mitrovic is likely to be one player that makes way. He remains a decent player, but he has not settled in England quite as well as first hoped. A move abroad could do him good in the summer, but Benitez may prefer to offload him permanently to raise transfer funds.

In other Newcastle transfer news, the Magpies should try and sign one of these three proven Premier League midfielders if they win promotion back to the top flight.

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