The Newcastle United fans have been delighted with the manner in which their side have rapidly improved during the second-half of the season even without the presence of a lethal centre-forward.
Islam Slimani was widely tipped to be Newcastle’s saving grace when he arrived at St James’ Park on transfer deadline day in January, but two other loan signings, namely Martin Dubravka and Kenedy have made the difference so far. Joselu was brought to the club last summer to bolster Newcastle’s attacking options, but his impact has been lacklustre at best whilst Dwight Gayle has struggled to discover his goal-scoring touch.
Gayle has been tasked with spearheading the Magpies’ front-line for the majority of the season due to Joselu’s shortcomings. Thus far, the 27-year-old has managed to score just 5 goals from 32 appearances for the club – a record which strongly suggests the club need to invest in a new striker next season.
However, the resolution to Newcastle’s goal-scoring problems is staring Rafa Benitez in the face. Aleksandar Mitrovic (valued at £7.2 million by Transfermarkt) has become a forgotten figure at St James’ Park this season, but since he departed the club for Fulham on a short term loan deal he seems to have turned a significant corner in his development.
The Serbian international has previously been criticised for lacking the motivation to succeed, however, the criticisms which were previously subscribed to Mitrovic have been unfounded during his spell at Craven Cottage. Mitrovic has notched an eye-catching 12 goals from just 16 appearances in the Championship since he moved to the Cottagers in January, and the quality of his return suggests a return to Newcastle could be on the cards this summer.
According to The Sun, Fulham are interested in signing Mitrovic on a permanent deal as well as Dwight Gayle, and if that proves to be the case Benitez should resist the urge to sell Mitrovic and allow Gayle to depart the club.
If Newcastle want to progress next season, Benitez needs to cast aside the grievances he has had with Mitrovic in the past, wipe the slate clean and make him the club’s first-choice striker next season in place of the toothless Gayle.
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