HomeFootball NewsAleksandar Mitrovic Insists He Will Never Play For Fulham Again

Aleksandar Mitrovic Insists He Will Never Play For Fulham Again

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The lure of ridiculous wages in Saudi Arabia has already proven too much for several Premier League footballers this summer and the latest to be tempted is Fulham’s Serbian striker Aleksandar Mitrovic. However, the Cottagers have so far shown no signs of giving in to interest from Al Hilal, demanding that Mitrovic joins them on their tour of the USA instead.

Al Hilal have already signed several high profile players from Europe this summer, including Kalidou Koulibaly from Chelsea, Ruben Neves from Wolves and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic from Lazio as they look to improve on a third place finish in the Saudi Pro League last season. Their top scorer was former Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo, but they want to add Mitrovic’s goals to their team too.

Bids Rejected

So far they are believed to have made two bids for the Serbian international, but neither has met the valuation that Fulham want for him. This has angered Mitrovic, to the extent that he was rumoured to be considering refusing to take part in the pre-season tour of the United States in protest. However, he was convinced by his agent Pini Zahavi and PFA representatives to go on to the tour, so flew out with the rest of the squad on Thursday.

He’s not gone quietly though, with stories immediately coming out that the 28-year-old had told his family he would never play for Fulham again. This now presents an issue for manager Marco Silva – who had turned down overtures from Al Hilal himself this summer and even now is being linked with a big money contract at Al Ahly – to deal with. If Mitrovic stays, will he be convinced to end his protest? 

So far Al Hilal’s bids have been worth £25.5 million and £30 million respectively, but Fulham are believed to have told them that they want £52 million before they’d consider selling. Zahavi is reported to have asked Fulham owner Tony Khan to drop this to around £35 million – £45 million, but there’s no sign of anyone backing down yet.

A Goal Machine

Mitrovic was a crucial player for Fulham last season as they earned a 10th place finish and reached the FA Cup quarter finals. He scored 14 goals in the league, his best record in four seasons of Premier League football, though he also found himself in hot water after being sent off and pushing the referee in that FA Cup defeat at Old Trafford. That earned him an eight game ban which meant he missed most of the final months of the season, only returning for the last three games.

The worry for Fulham is they only won three of those eight games that he missed, while no other player scored more than 5 goals for them in all competitions. This means that if he did depart, they would need to sign a replacement if they want to avoid a difficult second season back in the Premier League. 

It has been a quiet summer so far for the Cottagers with no major transfers in or out, but if Al Hilal and Mitrovic get their way, Fulham will need to start shopping with some urgency.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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