Aleksandar Mitrovic was up to his usual tricks in Russia this summer, and his three World Cup performances showed the best and worst of the powerful striker.
Mitrovic looks all set to leave Newcastle this summer, as a report from The Chronicle claims his tenacious World Cup performances have not convinced Rafael Benitez to stick with him.
The 23 year-old was loaned out to Fulham in January despite the Magpies being desperately short of goals, showing that Benitez just doesn’t have faith in him to carry out the Spaniard’s disciplined approach.
Mitrovic scored once at the World Cup, and at times he looked like the type of powerful, hungry striker that defenders would hate to play against, the exact type of number nine Benitez wants to sign this summer.
However, we’ve also seen the other side of the 23 year-old, as his lone goal against Switzerland is overshadowed by the fact that he took 14 shots across the three games, which is a truly dreadful conversion rate.
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Probably the biggest issue with the young striker’s game is his discipline, or lack thereof, and he picked up two yellow cards in the group stage, meaning he would have missed the first knockout round if Serbia had managed to progress.
Although he managed to fit quite nicely into Fulham’s free flowing attack during his loan stay at Craven Cottage, he also showed a considerable lack of composure on the ball during the tournament, completing just 65 passes across the three games at a success rate of less than 50 per cent.
Despite all this, there are elements to Mitrovic’s game that tick the boxes Benitez is looking for in the transfer market. He won an incredible 21 aerial duels during the three group stage matches, something that would certainly come in handy when the Magpies are defending deep.
The striker’s future is undoubtedly the biggest decision on Benitez’s plate this summer, and if he sells the 23 year-old only to bring in another Islam Slimani he could face some flak from fans.
So, Newcastle fans, what do you think about Mitrovic’s World Cup? Is he the striker you need? Let us know your thoughts by voting in the poll below…