By Will Butcher
Paris Saint-Germain attempted to sign Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic in January, according to a reliable journalist.
Bleacher Report journalist Dean Jones revealed in his transfer column that French champions PSG were rebuffed in their bid to snap up the 22-year-old forward.
The Serbia international has struggled to hold down a regular place in Rafa Benitez’s side this term, with top scorer Dwight Gayle considered first choice in the Toon’s one-striker system.
Making just seven Championship starts this season, Mitrovic was targeted by Unai Emery’s side as cover for centre forward Edinson Cavani but it is believed a move “fell on deaf ears”.
The Daily Mail claimed ahead of the January transfer window that the former Anderlecht forward was also attracting interest from Premier League duo Crystal Palace and Swansea.
But Mitrovic has since remained on Tyneside and will be looking to take advantage of summer signing Gayle’s recent injury by establishing himself as Benitez’s first-choice striker.
In his 22 league and cup appearances this season, the Toon’s number 45 has scored six goals against the likes of QPR, Preston and Wolves as well as supplying three assists.
Football Insider verdict:
With his best years ahead of him, the Toon must brace themselves with clubs likely to enter the transfer market in the summer for striker Mitrovic. Keeping him at St. James’ Park should be a must for Benitez, as Gayle’s injury problems continue to worsen. The aggressive striker is more than top-quality back-up and is a proven Premier League goalscorer which could prove crucial next season, if the Magpies do gain promotion. However, his temperament is a concern and Benitez must consider that if he decides to keep Mitrovic then he will risk causing him becoming a disruptive influence in the changing room as he continues to warm the bench on Tyneside.
In other Newcastle transfer news, this 24-year-old should be offloaded in the summer after a nightmare year with the Toon.