A Toon-armies’ worth of hopes will be placed upon Aleksandar Mitrovic’s young shoulders after the Anderlecht striker signed up at St James’ Park, but will Newcastle’s new Serbian prove to be a big hit or a glaring miss?
A price tag in the region of £15m for a 20-year-old would suggest the Magpies are gaining a player with all the trappings of a prospective hit.
Nevertheless, nerves will still be slightly frayed on the terraces that Mitrovic’s exploits in Belgium – where he topped the Pro League’s scoring charts with 20 goals last season – won’t necessarily translate to Premier League success.
Success as a Newcastle striker is defined by Alan Shearer, though comparisons to a folk hero whose achievements are unlikely to ever be paralleled are not really advisable at this or any point.
There have been plenty of other successes, relatively, for Newcastle up front since the Shearer days and Geordie fans will be hoping Mitrovic falls into that basket, rather than join an oversubscribed catalogue of flops.
For every Obafemi Martins or Demba Ba there have been Xiscos or Luuk De Jongs to frustrate fans and plenty more besides.
However, delving into Mitrovic’s stats so early in his career should provide reassurance to those of a Toon persuasion this guy is the real deal.
It is looking far more optimistic that the Serb at least emulates the likes of loan star Loic Remy over the more exasperating signings down the years such as recent addition Emanuel Riviere.
Remy proved a rousing success during his temporary St James’ stay in 2013/14, racking up 14 goals in 26 top-flight outings, but like Mitrovic, the Frenchman had amassed impressive seasonal tallies in successive campaigns before arriving.
In his very short senior career to date, Mitrovic has already achieved a goals-per-game ratio only a smidgen above one every two, while Remy had not fallen far shy of this benchmark at his three prior clubs.
Equally, Ba and Papiss Cisse had both been doing the business for their previous employers before lighting up the north east shortly after arriving.
The man who managed to secure Mitrovic’s signature is clearly confident that his new boy will do the business.
“I think this is a fantastic signing for us. We’ve fought off a lot of competition to secure a top young talent in Europe,” Steve McClaren said.
“Aleksandar is someone who can develop with the team and someone who will help us to get to where we want to go.”
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
Fancy a flutter? Sign up today to claim up to £25 in free bets.