Aleksandar Mitrovic has completed the jigsaw at Fulham and is enjoying his career once again with a stunning record of seven goals in his previous five league appearances.
In 2013, Mitrovic was voted Golden Player and won the Golden Boot as Serbia went onto win the Under-19 European Championships. He capped off a wonderful year by winning the Serbian SuperLiga title with Partizan FK and his first senior international cap for the Serbian National Team.
Mitrovic’s heroics in his native Serbia didn’t go unnoticed by clubs around Europe, and he secured a move to Belgian giants Anderlecht for a club-record fee in August 2013. He represented them in the UEFA Champions League and finished his debut season with an impressive tally of 16 goals in 39 appearances as Anderlecht went onto win both the Belgian Pro League and Belgian Super Cup.
The Serbian international received notoriety from clubs in England when he scored the equalising goal in a famous encounter with Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League. The Gunners were leading by a three-goal margin until the Belgians inspired themselves to a scintillating comeback to earn a point in the group phase.
Newcastle United soon launched a £13 million bid for his services at the beginning of the 2015/16 season, after Mitrovic finished his final full season in Belgium as the Pro League Top Goal Scorer with 20 goals. Unfortunately, Mitrovic found it difficult to adapt to life in the Premier League, and was often scrutinised for his poor temperament.
The 23-year-old completed his debut season at St James’ Park with a tally of nine goals in 34 appearances, but was unable to rescue The Magpies from relegation. He remained at the club during their sole season in the Championship, but played a passive role in their title winning season under Rafa Benitez.
Benitez signed English striker Dwight Gayle from Crystal Palace following their relegation, and Mitrovic bagged just six goals in 29 appearances in all competitions. He was unable to regain a regular playing position in the Premier League, and was poised to move to Bordeaux or former club Anderlecht during the January Transfer Window.
His form on the international stage was in stark contrast to that of his club career. Mitrovic netted six goals during the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers to guide Serbia to qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. He was offered an escape route via fellow Serbian Slavisa Jokanovic and joined Fulham on a loan deal until the end of the season.
Mitrovic has unleashed the beast inside him, by performing and scoring goals once again at club level. Fulham are currently one of the most in form teams in the Championship and are still in contention for automatic promotion. They’re unbeaten in their last 14 league fixtures, winning eleven and scoring 35 goals in the process.
The move has proved pivotal for Mitrovic’s confidence and will help him maintain a high level of fitness in preparation for the 2018 World Cup. He increased his tally to seven goals in his last five appearances with both goals in Saturday’s win at Preston North End and has filled the void in the final third.
Fulham had very little trouble scoring goals, but the lack of a top class striker was evident at Craven Cottage. The arrival of Aleksandar Mitrovic has completed the jigsaw puzzle and will enhance their chances of securing a long-awaited return to the Premier League, via either automatic promotion or the EFL Championship Play-Offs.