By Russell Edge

1st Nov, 2017 | 6:44pm

Report: Benitez has tried to offload Newcastle fans' favourite, will do so again in January

By Russell Edge

Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez will look to sell Aleksandar Mitrovic in January after failing to offload him in each of the last two transfer windows, according to a report.

The Chronicle claim on their website that the Spanish boss does not believe the Serbian striker can be trusted after demonstrating his disciplinary issues and questions his ability to work in the system the manager is looking to utilise.

The 23-year-old is yet to start a Premier League game for the club this season and has just two appearances to his name, having been left out of the squad for three of the last four matches.

He scored in his first outing of the season in a 3-0 win over West Ham but was subsequently banned for three games after being charged with violent conduct for an off-the-ball incident.

He has established himself as a fans’ favourite on Tyneside thanks to his energy and passion, and has a total of 17 goals in 68 appearances across all competitions since arriving from Anderlecht in 2015.

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Football Insider verdict

It appears that Mitrovic is on borrowed time at St James’ Park, and that it is a case of when, not if, his Newcastle career comes to an end. Benitez appears to value the ability to trust his players more than anything and the Serbian forward just has not demonstrated that, thanks to his needless discipline issues. Had he not been banned after the West Ham match, he could have seen much more game time, but it appears that was the final straw for his manager. In fairness, he has never shown a natural talent for scoring goals in the top flight and any money gained from his sale could be reinvested in securing the striker the club desperately need. While undoubtedly a fans’ favourite, this comes down to choosing between Benitez and Mitrovic, and there is no doubt who the Toon Army would rather see remain on Tyneside.

In other Newcastle United transfer news, the club are reportedly just £2.5million away from securing the signing of an international striker.

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