In Focus: Newcastle surely wouldn’t sell Mitrovic to a direct rival in Brighton

According to reports in The Mirror, Newcastle United striker Aleksandar Mitrovic is a January target for Premier League rivals Brighton and Hove Albion.

What’s the word, then?

Well, The Mirror says that Seagulls manager Chris Hughton sent his scouts to watch the striker in action for Serbia when they were beaten 3-2 by Austria on Friday, as he looks to boost his struggling frontline in the New Year.

The Magpies’ fellow newly-promoted side have scored just five goals in their opening seven Premier League matches this season, and their woes in front of goal could easily cost them their place in the top flight by the end of the campaign.

Meanwhile, Toon boss Rafa Benitez is said to have run out of patience with Mitrovic after he was handed a three-match ban for elbowing West Ham United’s Manuel Lanzini during his side’s 3-1 win against the Irons back in August.

How has Mitrovic done this season?

Before the incident against the Irons, the hot-headed 23-year-old had actually started the campaign in good form as he looked to stake his claim for a regular spot in the starting XI.

The Serbia international came on as a substitute and scored against West Ham, while he also netted in his only other appearance of the season against Nottingham Forest in the EFL Cup.

However, while Mitrovic was available again for the Premier League clash against Liverpool last time out, he didn’t make the match-day squad which seems to suggest that his future at St James’ Park is now in doubt.

Would Newcastle be willing to let him go then?

They probably would be, yes.

While the centre-forward looks to have good potential and is strong in the air and a decent finisher, his temperament means that he is something of a liability and the Magpies can’t afford to risk having him in the team from the start unless that improves in what is such an important season.

Unless Mitrovic shows a lot of improvement during the course of the next three months it is likely that he will be sold to free up funds in the New Year, but it remains to be seen whether the Tyneside outfit would be willing to let him join a direct rival.