Despite being strongly linked over the past few weeks with a move to Arsenal, FK Partizan’s young centre-forward Aleksandar Mitrović may remain on the Belgrade side’s books for at least another season.
The player himself has stated, via Twitter, that ‘contact’ had been made between Arsenal and his club, but clarified that no deal was agreed upon. Furthermore, Partizan’s president, Dragan Đurić, has affirmed that Mitrović will not be permitted to sign for the North London club.
‘There is no chance that we will sell Aleksandar Mitrović this summer. I think it’s time to put an end to that story. The only possibility this summer is that Marko Ščepović will go abroad.’
Temporarily at least, Đurić’s statement seems to have put paid to speculation regarding the 19-year-old’s immediate future. However, it remains to be seen whether or not – or, perhaps more accurately, for how long – Partizan can hold on to a player who has impressed greatly over the past year or so.
Mitrović, an agile and aggressive punta, has recently been called-up to Serbia’s senior national team by Siniša Mihajlović. A long-standing lack of quality amongst Serbian centre-forwards means that Mitrović is already being tipped to become the nation’s next regular ‘number nine.’
As a result of his progression, the man from Smederevo has been mentioned in connection with several reputed clubs from around Europe. Aside from Arsenal, other interested parties are thought to include Serie A runners-up Napoli, Dutch heavyweights Ajax and PSV, and Portuguese champions FC Porto.
Only time will reveal how much longer Mitrović continues to ply his trade in Belgrade, and whether or not the words of Dragan Đurić are anything other than a bargaining ploy. As with most things transfer-related, the only thing to do is wait and see.