Newcastle boss Benitez to offload international star with top flight rivals circling - report
By Russell Edge
Newcastle United boss is prepared to let striker Aleksandar Mitrovic depart the club this January after losing patience in the Serbian, according to a report.
The Sun claim on their website that Mitrovic’s three match suspension for violent conduct in the win over West Ham saw the Spanish manager lose patience with the 23-year-old, and is willing to allow him to depart.
Newcastle’s top flight rivals Brighton are said to be interested in the 29-time-capped international, with the Seagulls’ boss Chris Hughton reportedly having dispatched scouts to Serbia’s 3-2 defeat to Austria on Friday.
Despite playing the full 90 minutes, Mitrovic was unable to add to his 10 international goals, and it appears he will not be given the chance to add to his 17 Newcastle goals any time soon, despite having netted twice in two appearances this season.
Despite having served his ban and being eligible for the first team once again, Benitez chose to snub Mitrovic from the match day squad for the 1-1 draw against Liverpool, choosing to start Joselu and use Dwight Gayle from the bench instead.
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The Serbian star has 67 Newcastle appearances under his belt, but has missed no less than 10 matches through suspension since arriving back in the summer of 2015.
Football Insider verdict
Letting Mitrovic go would be a risky move for Benitez, but if he feels he cannot trust the Serbian then what other choice does he have? Mitrovic has proven time and again that he struggles to manage his aggressive nature on the football pitch, and while that can be used to bully defences into making mistakes, it also makes him a target for officials. Despite that, he does offer a different approach to the other Newcastle strikers, and perhaps Benitez is better off making use of his talents rather than shipping him out. Plus, unless the Magpies can bring in a replacement, it would leave just Joselu and Gayle as the Spanish manager’s options up front, and they do not come across as the type of striker’s who would fire the Magpies to Premier League survival.
In other Newcastle United transfer news, the Magpies are said to still be in the hunt for this reported former target.