Roy Hodgson and Dougie Freedman were both spotted in the crowd for Fulham’s play-off semi-final second leg triumph over Derby County and yesterday, the Palace boss gave an indication as to who the pair had been watching by paying a massive compliment to the Cottagers on loan Newcastle striker, Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Whilst the Eagles already have Christian Benteke, Alexander Sørloth and Connor Wickham on their books, it’s fair to say that we struggled to find a consistent goalscorer during the 2017/18 campaign, provoking what is sure to be a careful search of the market this summer.
After finding himself out of the picture at Newcastle following their promotion to the Premier League, the Serbian frontman jumped at the chance to join Fulham on loan in January and has flourished in the months since. Of course, should they come out on top against Aston Villa in the play-off final this weekend, you’d assume both Fulham and Mitrovic himself would look to make his stay there a permanent one but if they lose, I would fully expect Hodgson to make a concrete bid for him within days of the final whistle sounding.
As flattery goes, I would suggest comparing Mitrovic to Newcastle’s most famous ever number nine is an effective if rather blatant way of getting into his good books in advance of an actual bid being lodged. Who wouldn’t want to play for a manager who has readily spoken of you as someone who reminds him of a goalscoring great? It’s simple but it’s almost bound to make a big impact.
It’s also worth noting that “Mitro” as he is known to supporters, has been an extremely good friend of Palace captain Luka Milivojevic for quite some time now. The pair played together at Anderlecht in the 2013/14 season and clearly struck up quite a bond, no doubt helped by their shared Serbian heritage. With both expected to play a big role in their country’s upcoming World Cup campaign, we can expect Luka to sell the club to Aleksandar a little more if necessary.
Keep your fingers crossed for an Aston Villa victory this Saturday.