Leeds United supporters have been particularly despondent in the Transfer Tavern this week after seeing their side suffer successive Championship defeats at the hands of Sheffield United and Derby County to fall out of the division’s play-off places.
Thomas Christiansen’s men were top of the league back in September but have since seriously struggled for form, having won just two of their succeeding eight league games to slip to seventh in the division. And the mood of our resident Whites supporters was hardly improved earlier this week as Chris Wilder’s Blades won 2-1 at Elland Road on Friday night before Gary Rowett’s Derby edged Christiansen’s side by the same scoreline on Tuesday, leaving the 44-year-old with much to ponder ahead of their trip to resurgent Brentford this weekend.
Thus, those hardy Leeds fans lining up at the bar have been very quiet in the Tavern this week, and a poor run of form like this always instigates debate about who a club could sign in the upcoming transfer window to improve their current fortunes.
And it has been no different in the Tavern this week, and one man who has been spoken about quite quietly by some of our resident Leeds supporters is Newcastle United striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, who could reportedly be on his way out of St James’ Park in the summer.
The 23-year-old made the move to the North East back in 2015 but has struggled to nail down a regular first team spot, and this season has highlighted his troubles having made just three appearances for the Magpies, two of which he has scored in.
Yet manager Rafa Benitez clearly isn’t convinced, and reports suggest that the Spaniard will again look to offload the Serbia international in the New Year.
And Leeds must look to launch an audacious bid for the £9 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt) when the window reopens, as the striker is evidently very talented and would certainly bolster the flagging attacking ranks at Elland Road, not to mention his need to play regular football ahead of the World Cup in the summer.
Ultimately, whenever the 23-year-old has been on the pitch for Newcastle, he has carried a threat going forward – he doesn’t always put those chances away, but at least he creates those opportunities.
Furthermore, he is strong in the air and also holds the ball up reasonably well, so the likes of Samuel Saiz, who has been excellent so far for Leeds, as well as Kemar Roofe and Ezgjan Alioksi would be able to play off him and get in behind opposition backlines.
Obviously, there clearly is a discipline issue with Mitrovic – he was banned earlier this season for elbowing Manuel Lanzini – but there’s certainly a very talented striker there and one which could help Leeds in the second half of the campaign.
The Whites sold Chris Wood over the summer, and although new signing Pierre Michel Lasogga has done reasonably well so far, it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to lead the line effectively for the rest of the campaign, such is the long, hard slog of a Championship season.
And with four goals and six assists in 25 second tier appearances last term, only 11 of which were starts, the Serbia international also has pedigree at this level, and finished the season with three assists in five games to suggest that he can still produce the goods in the latter stages of the campaign.
Ultimately, Mitrovic will know that he needs to play first team football at a good level in the second half of the season, as there is a World Cup next summer which Serbia will be going to in confident mood after winning their qualification group.
The 23-year-old has yet to appear at a major tournament for his country and will surely want to leave no stone unturned ahead of next summer, so making a move to Leeds, where he is likely to play more regularly, gain in confidence, and ultimately prove his capabilities, is certainly an option in January.
The Yorkshire giants now must make it happen by launching a move for the striker.
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