Fulham close in on £20m Aleksandar Mitrovic transfer

GIUSEPPE MURO
Top form: Mitrovic scored 12 goals in 20 games to help Fulham reach the Premier League: Getty Images

Fulham are closing in on a deal worth close to £20million for Aleksandar Mitrovic.

The Serbia striker is on a break after the World Cup and is set to seal a move from Newcastle United when he returns.

Turkish side Fenerbahce have been linked with a late bid to snatch Mitrovic from under the nose of Fulham, but Slavisa Jokanovic is confident he has landed the 23-year-old.

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The signing of Mitrovic will take Fulham’s spending summer to around £50m following the arrival of Jean-Michael Seri and Maxime Le Marchand from Nice in a combined £30m deal.

Mitrovic spent last season on loan at Fulham and played a key role in their promotion to the Premier League, scoring 12 goals in 20 games. He believes he played the best football of his career under Jokanovic and wants to return to Craven Cottage.

Mitrovic is on a break after his World Cup campaign with Serbia (REUTERS)

Newcastle have been holding out for an increase on the £13m they paid for Mitrovic in 2015 but Rafael Benitez is keen to offload him to raise funds for new signings.

Fulham, meanwhile, want to press ahead with contract talks with Jokanovic with the head coach now into the final year of his current deal.

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The 49-year-old Serb guided Fulham to promotion last season and the Cottagers want to tie him down to a longer contract.

Jokanovic asked Fulham to match his ambition this summer and the signings of Seri and Mitrovic are a clear statement of their intent.

Seri was wanted by a host of clubs across Europe and Barcelona legend Xavi last year urged the Catalan club to sign him because he has “Barca DNA”.

The 26-year-old midfielder signed a four-year contract at Fulham and has revealed why he moved to the west London club amid interest from clubs including Chelsea, Napoli and Borussia Dortmund.

Seri said: “When they respect me at my real value, I respect the club back. The club said, ‘we want you, even though we know other clubs are after you, this is what we want to do with you and this is what we want you to bring to us’.

“This is why I chose this club. And they have a good playing philosophy. I am a player who loves playing with the ball, who loves the beautiful game and ball possession. So it is a club that suits me and I will do everything to repay the confidence the club has shown in me.”