Rafa Benitez urges Aleksander Mitrovic to stay despite Premier League interest

Rafa Benitez urges Aleksander Mitrovic to stay despite Premier League interest

The Serbian international’s game time has been limited this year and Swansea are set to offer £15m when the window opens in January.

AdamSmith
Adam Smith

A number of Premier League clubs, as well as Rafa Benitez’s former club Napoli, have been linked with Aleksandar Mitrovic in recent weeks, however Benitez has told the striker: “Stay and fire us back to the Premier League.”

Despite the interest, it is expected Newcastle United will reject any bids as they focus on making a return to the top flight at the first attempt.

Time on his side

Despite being first choice for his national side and having Champions League experience, Mitrovic is still only 22-years-old. The striker certainly has time on his side and has recently expressed his desire to remain on Tyneside.

Aleksander Mitrovic arrived at St James’ Park from Anderlecht in July 2015 and quickly became a fan favourite for his fiery personality. Despite his £13m price tag, the Serbian has spent most of his time on the bench this season with Dwight Gayle being the preferred option.

The striker has featured 14 times for the Magpies this season, with eight of those coming from the bench, scoring five goals and picking up two assists.

Benitez has told Mitrovic to stay put. Photo: Stu Forster/ Getty
Benitez has told Mitrovic to stay put. Photo: Stu Forster/ Getty

Reassurance to fans

“My heart is full for this club” said Mitrovic, following his brace in the League Cup tie against Preston in October, “I couldn’t be happier when I score goals for these fans and this club.”

In November, the Serb said: “My message for fans is don’t worry because I will be there for the rest of the season.”

With games coming quick and fast over the festive period, Mitrovic is likely to see more game time in the coming weeks. It also remains a mystery how Benitez will set his team up following the news of Jonjo Shelvey’s ban and players heading to Gabon for the African Cup of Nations. A tactical reshuffle could see Benítez fielding two strikers and the Serbian will be keen to prove his worth if called upon.

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