2014/15 certainly has to go down as a rather disappointing campaign for Newcastle United, not just in front of goal, but across every area of the pitch and among the coaching staff as well.
Despite a brief run of results mid-way through the season, last term ultimately proved frustrating for the St. James’ faithful, who nonetheless managed to fill out their over 50,000 seater stadium on an almost week-to-week basis. Mike Ashley and the rest of his cronies behind the scenes on Tyneside must therefore make amends this summer and at least try and turn the club’s fortunes around for the new campaign.
However, with young Serbian hot-shot – Aleksandar Mitrovic – looking increasingly likely to sign on at St. James’ for a reported fee of £13 million, perhaps the Magpies may eventually be able to see light at the end of the tunnel next season after all. Gini Wijnaldum has already put pen to paper on a deal with Newcastle this summer, and with Steve McClaren looking to make the most out of his Dutch contacts whilst in the North East, more signings could well be on the way to St. James’ sooner rather than later.
So then, although the attention gathering 20-year-old hasn’t quite yet sealed his move to Tyneside on an official basis this summer, just what can the Newcastle United faithful ultimately expect from their imminent new signing?
First things first, Aleksandar Mitrovic seemingly arrives as a goal-scorer above all else. In reminiscent style to fellow Belgian Pro League favourite Romelu Lukaku, before he made his debut in the Premier League, the bustling Serbian youngster topped the charts with an impressive 20 goals for Anderlecht last season, and certainly made himself a few new fans whilst he was at it.
The rapidly emerging striker – who has already represented his side at Champions League level, as well as on the international scene – is somewhat Carlos Tevez-esque in his approach. Mitrovic isn’t quite the most balanced striker we’ve ever seen by any means, yet what he seemingly lacks in stature is more than made up for through his powerfully aggressive nature in front of goal.
When it comes to proving a dangerous aerial threat in an around the box, constantly testing the opposition’s defence inside the final third, and making bustling runs straight through the middle of the pitch to great affect – this latest Magpies target has very rarely disappointed. 2014/15 was simply a great year for the young striker, who has subsequently witnessed his reputation grow dramatically this summer.
He may have previously looked slightly over-weight in the past, and one good year in the Belgian league isn’t exactly the most valid cause for excitement in all honesty – but in possessing such a promising level of potential for the not too distant future – Newcastle United fans certainly have reason to be quietly optimistic regarding this latest Tyneside transfer saga.
However, there is just no escaping the fact that £13million is quite sizeable amount of money to spend on a largely unproven 20-year-old, who has only just made a name for himself on the wider European footballing scene. Newcastle don’t often splash the cash with every passing transfer window, so in witnessing the Magpies being so frivolous with their resources in this instance, a few curious question marks have inevitably been raised.
This particular transfer seemingly has the ability to fall flat on its face next season, potentially condemning Aleksandar Mitrovic to the unfulfilled talent category on Tyneside, previously filled by the underwhelming likes of Albert Luque and Xisco in the past.
With his signing perhaps offering last season’s somewhat lost figure of, Papiss Cisse, a recognised strike partner to do the business with up top throughout 2015/16 however, its ultimately hard to view this purchase as anything other than positive in the cold light of day. Aleksandar Mitrovic could just as easily revitalize Newcastle’s shape next season, and finally help get the goals flowing once again before the Tyneside faithful truly give up on their increasingly struggling club.
As the youngster’s potential arrival would nonetheless signal another attacking marque move from Steve McClaren this summer though, the chances of Newcastle signing QPR’s Charlie Austin are certainly weakened – especially with Aston Villa recently joining the hunt for the striker’s signature in the run up to the 2015/16 campaign.