Aleksandar Mitrovic: We profile the striker after he joins Newcastle
Last Updated: 21/07/15 11:59am
We give the lowdown on Newcastle's new signing Aleksandar Mitrovic after the Serbian striker completed his move from Anderlecht.
The Serbia international has joined the club for a fee of around £13million, signing a five-year contract at St James' Park and becoming Steve McClaren's second signing as Newcastle manager following the arrival of Georginio Wijnaldum from PSV Eindhoven.
Here, we take a closer look at the 20-year-old...
What’s his background?
Mitrovic was always highly regarded in the youth set-up at Partizan Belgrade and burst onto the scene with a goal nine minutes into his first-team debut in a Champions League qualifier against Maltese side Valletta after impressing on a loan spell at affiliate side Teleoptik for the 2011/12 season.
That debut strike wasn’t a flash in pan either as he continued finding the net all season for Belgrade, scoring 15 goals in 36 appearances and finishing the season as the club’s top goalscorer.
Newcastle clinch Mitrovic deal
Newcastle United have signed Aleksandar Mitrovic on a five-year deal subject to a work permit
His name was soon on the lips of top European club scouts and it was Anderlecht that put their money where their mouth was in the summer of 2013, snapping up the youngster for £3.5m – a club-record fee at the time.
He settled quickly in his new environment and became an instant hit with the club’s supporters by creating two goals from off the bench on his debut against Zulte-Waregam. Despite his inexperience Mitrovic soon became the leading light of the Anderlecht forward line, finding the net 16 times in 32 league appearances.
Arsenal felt the full force of his capabilities in the Champions League last season as he found the net with a last-minute equaliser in Anderlecht’s 3-3 draw with the Gunners. That goal was one of 27 he scored over the course of the season as his team finished third in the Belgian league, just missing out on the title by three points.
But the Serb has yet to take the international scene by storm, scoring just one goal in 14 caps.
What are his strengths?
In a nutshell, he’s more Robert Lewandowski than Sergio Aguero. He thrives off crosses into the box and is very strong in the air. A high percentage of his goals for Anderlecht, including his dramatic equaliser against Arsenal, have been scored by latching onto balls being whipped in from down the flanks.
Saying that, you don’t attract the attention of some of the world’s biggest clubs if you can’t play a bit, too, and the athletic striker is more than capable of getting involved with build-up play and providing assists for his team-mates.
Who was he linked with?
Newcastle have won the race to secure Mitrovic's signature, but a number of other clubs are also believed to have been interested in the past.
Chelsea were linked with the player and it was also reported earlier this summer that Swansea lodged an official approach to Anderlecht but it was rejected by the club.
And there was interest from Europe, too; the Gazzetta dello Sport recently claimed Roma were pursuing the striker as they struggled to snare Manchester City's Edin Dzeko.
But having finally settled his future, Mitrovic is already hoping to emulate club legend Alan Shearer at Newcastle. "There will be pressure here, for sure, but I like pressure," he said.
"I also know about the famous players who have played for Newcastle United, like Alan Shearer who is a hero of mine. I hope I can play like him for this club. It will be an honour."