Lyon have stepped up their interest in Newcastle United striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, after deciding to end their pursuit of Borussia Monchengladbach’s Thorgan Hazard. The Ligue 1 club want to make one more big-name addition before the start of the new season.
The Northern Echo report that they are prepared to submit an offer of around €15 million (£13.4 million) for the Serbian international. He has been one of their leading targets for the entire summer and they are finally ready to make a sustained push to sign him.
Despite his undoubted potential, Newcastle are prepared to let the striker leave St James’ Park this summer. Rafa Benitez believes that he can secure a better player for around £16 million and will give his backing to the sale if the club’s demands are met. The Magpies may not be willing to deal for the initial offer, but a fee of around €20 million (£17.9 million) would meet their asking price.
Should Newcastle sell Aleksandar Mitrovic?
Newcastle have faced problems this summer, due to their huge playing squad. They need to make sales to free up wages and to bring in money to spend on their own targets. The cost of relegation is hitting them harder this season and it is important that they sell shrewdly to boost their own recruitment. As one of their most sell-able assets, it is appealing to offload Mitrovic, as he will bring in significant money that they can invest in players that will be more suited to Benitez.
The Serbian has struggled during the last twelve months and played only 1122 minutes during their successful Championship campaign. It was clear that he wasn’t trusted by his manager and his performances when he did play weren’t good enough to increase his role in the squad. He contributed four goals and six assists. A striker that cost over £10 million should be doing better in the English second tier.
His aggression and lack of discipline have posed a problem for Newcastle since he joined the club. There have been times when he has performed well, before losing his cool on the pitch and that makes him a liability. At the age of 22, there is a lot of time for him to develop into a great striker, but the Magpies may not want to oversee that. If there is a better option that is more suited to Benitez’s style, they should sell Mitrovic to fund a move.
How likely is a transfer to Lyon?
If the interest from Lyon is genuine, and they are prepared to make a move for Mitrovic, there is a good chance that the transfer happens. Newcastle need to move players on and Benitez will want to boost his own spending power. Although Mitrovic is a talent, he is not a first-team regular and a fee of €15 million plus is too good to turn down for a player of his squad status.