By Russell Edge

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez is still undecided on whether he will allow striker Aleksandar Mitrovic depart over January as top flight sides circle, according to a report.

The Chronicle claim on their website that the Spanish boss is reluctant to let the 23-year-old leave St James’ Park without having a replacement in place, with the Serbian just one of three strikers currently at his disposal.

Such doubt over letting him depart will come as a surprise to many, with the Spanish boss seemingly certain to try and offload him in January, having reportedly failed to sell him in each of the last two transfer windows.

The report states that there would is no shortage of interest in the forward’s signing, with his former side Anderlecht, who he left for Tyneside back in 2015, keen on securing a six month loan deal in January.

Also reportedly registering interest are a duo of top flight Chinese sides, including Shanghai Greenland Shenhua, who currently have former Newcastle striker Obafemi Martins as well as Carlos Tevez among their options up front.

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Mitrovic has just three appearances to his name this season, two of which came in the league, and has netted twice to take his total goal scoring record to 17 goals in 68 appearances during his time at the club.

Football Insider verdict

The Serbian striker has become a firm fans’ favourite with his passionate performances and dedication to the cause, but he has not proven himself to be the goal scorer the club needs. However Benitez’s reluctance to utilise his skills is also hurting the club, and it is something that needs to be sorted out sooner rather than later as he sits out going to waste. If the manager thinks he has a future at the club, he needs to be playing and getting up to speed, because his power and strength could terrorise defences and give the Magpies a focal point so desperately lacking from their attack right now. If his time is up, he needs be shipped off in order to bring in some much needed funds for Benitez to reinvest.

In other Newcastle United news, this man is a huge doubt for the club’s clash with Manchester United on Saturday.

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