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Newcastle: Benitez had a nightmare with the sale of Mitrovic

Newcastle United smashed their club-record transfer fee in the summer when they signed Alexander Isak from Real Sociedad for £59m.

Dan Ashworth swooped to sign the Swedish international in an attempt to bolster the club’s options at the top end of the pitch, joining Callum Wilson and Chris Wood as one of Eddie Howe’s first-team strikers.

The Magpies have had some terrific centre-forwards over the years, including the legendary Alan Shearer, but sometimes things just do not work out for players during their time at St. James’ Park.

A prime example of that is current Fulham talisman Aleksandar Mitrovic, who was brought in by Steve McClaren and never established himself as the go-to man on Tyneside.

Newcastle had signed him from Anderlecht for £13m in 2015 and the gem scored a respectable nine goals in 34 Premier League appearances as the club were relegated from the top-flight.

He then struggled to find his best form in the Championship as he found the back of the net four times in 25 outings before ending up on the fringes of the team at the start of the 2017/18 campaign under Rafa Benitez.

Mitrovic only made six league appearances for the club before joining Fulham on loan in the second tier, where he scored 12 times in 20 appearances as they won promotion via the play-offs.

The Spanish boss then sanctioned a permanent exit for the Serbian international in the summer of 2018, allowing him to move to Craven Cottage for £22m.

On the face of it, Newcastle making a £9m profit on the forward despite him not being in favour under Benitez appeared to be a good bit of business by the club.

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Newcastle United striker Callum Wilson celebrates with Joelinton

How many 2021/22 Premier League goals did Newcastle score?

However, his achievements since departing St. James’ Park suggest that the former Liverpool and Everton boss had a mare by allowing him to leave.

Mitrovic scored 11 Premier League goals in the 2018/19 campaign, whilst only two Newcastle players managed more than four league strikes that term, and then produced 26 goals in 40 Championship outings the following season.

The striker really stole the headlines, however, when he plundered an unprecedented 43 goals in 44 second-tier matches in 2021/22, whilst also providing seven assists.

Ivan Toney had set the Championship record for goals in a season with 31 in the 2020/21 campaign before Mitrovic, who has been dubbed a “goal machine” by journalist Nick Wright, came along and smashed it out of the park – outscoring every other player’s best goalscoring record in the history of the competition by at least 13 goals.

This season, he has scored six goals in eight Premier League outings, two more than any Toon player, and still has plenty of room left to grow and develop at the age of 28.

Therefore, Benitez had a mare by deciding to sell the striker, who has 102 goals in 185 games for Fulham, as Newcastle could have benefitted from his immense talent in front of goal instead of watching him break records in London.