Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Make or Break Time for Mitrovic Who Must Start to Justify His PS13m Tag

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Make or Break Time for Mitrovic Who Must Start to Justify His PS13m Tag

Article excerpt


WHEN you watch it on Youtube, you can see why it nudged Newcastle United out of the undecided camp when it comes to Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Tap Mitrovic and Borussia Dortmund into Google and the evidence mounts about the armoury that the Serbian brought to Tyneside when he signed that PS13million deal last summer. It's a masterclass in aerial prowess - running one of the Bundesliga's best defences ragged with a succession of intelligent flicks and precision passes that culminate in a bullet second-half header.

He plays the whole game with a brooding menace and looks - not to put too fine a point on it - pretty close to unplayable at times.

Watching in the stands at the Westfalenstadion was Graham Carr, tasked with finding Newcastle a striker who would command a reasonable sell-on if the worst case scenario arose. The remit was the same one United had been working to for nearly half a decade: make them good, make them young and deliver them brimming with potential.

Mitrovic represented the biggest gamble of what turned out to be a critical transfer window. The young striker was dogged by talk of being overweight - piling on pounds when he was at Anderlecht was put down to eating too many pizzas and staying up too late. Newcastle knew the Belgian club had assigned him a chaperone at one point to keep him focused.

All of this concerned United when they took the plunge. Newcastle have not spent as much on a forward since they splashed out for Michael Owen - and had quibbled over the millions that it would have taken to sign Loic Remy the summer before. It had to be right.

In the end, it was his performances on the big nights under the bright lights of the Champions League that pushed the dial in his favour. Mitrovic (left) didn't just do it in Germany, he also scored a magnificent diving header as Anderlecht drew with Arsenal. …

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