Marco Silva has dropped a hint on the future of Fulham centre-forward Aleksandar Mitrovic.
In recent comments cited by West London Sport, the Fulham manager revealed that, despite the 26-year-old being heavily linked with a move away from Craven Cottage this summer, the Serbia international is very much a key part of his first team plans next season.
Indeed, a report earlier this year claimed that Jose Mourinho was keen on signing the striker for AS Roma, while Dynamo Moscow reportedly had a £16m bid for the forward turned down by the Cottagers last month.
It would appear that Silva has no intention whatsoever of letting Mitrovic leave west London ahead of the new Championship season, stating: “I think for all, for me as a manager for our football club and the fans, Mitro is a key player for us.
“He already showed that in the past, in the Championship, he has proved that as well in the Premier League.
“Last season was not the best season for him. He knows that and I know as well, but we are here to support him, to give the conditions for him to score goals – and important goals and to win football matches.
“I know his quality. I was really close to working with him before I joined Fulham, twice, and now I’m working with him.
“His work rate and his motivation to be with us – he will be a key player for us for sure.”
While Mitrovic did not enjoy the most prolific of seasons in 2020/21, scoring just three goals in his 27 Premier League appearances last term, the centre-forward has proven in the past that he is a formidable striker at Championship level, as Silva claims.
Indeed, in 40 Championship appearances in 2019/20, the £14.4m-rated marksman bagged a whopping 26 goals, registered two assists and created six big chances for his teammates, taking 3.8 shots and making 1.1 key passes per game.
These returns saw the £63k-per-week striker earn a seasonal SofaScore match rating of 7.17, ranking him as the club’s best performer in the division as he played a starring role in the club’s promotion to the Premier League that year.
As such, with Silva undoubtedly having ambitions to repeat this feat with Fulham in their upcoming campaign, retaining the services of the 26-year-old would very much appear to provide the Portuguese manager with a huge boost to his chances of getting the Cottagers back up at the first time of asking.
If the 44-year-old’s latest comments are anything to go by, it would seem as if Mitrovic will indeed be playing his football at Craven Cottage next season rather than securing a move away, something which will surely be music to the ears of Fulham fans.