Mitrovic on fire England GFXGOAL

Mitro's on fire, England should be terrified! How Serbia's former Fulham favourite Aleksandar Mitrovic outshone Saudi Pro League superstars to be in ideal form for Euro 2024

When the Saudi Pro League kickstarted their plans for footballing domination last summer, they initially seemed to be targeting a certain profile of player. Namely, those approaching the twilights of their careers who were conscious that paydays like this were in diminishing supply. The likes of Karim Benzema, N'Golo Kante and Jordan Henderson were just three examples.

However, as the transfer window progressed, the Pro League's other objectives became clearer. If they wished to properly disrupt the established footballing order, they needed to pluck players away from the biggest leagues in the land when they were still at their peaks.

Nothing typified this aim more than Al-Hilal's protracted pursuit of Aleksandar Mitrovic. During the 2022-23 Premier League campaign, the Serbian had scored 14 times in just 24 appearances, a tally that would have been even greater if he had not received a lengthy ban for pushing referee Chris Kavanagh during an FA Cup quarter-final. If he was to leave Craven Cottage, one would have expected a top-tier Premier League club to be his destination.

Instead, Mitrovic would wind up in Saudi Arabia, with this decision and his agitation for the transfer being roundly criticised in the British media. Indeed, upon its completion, Cottagers boss Marco Silva admitted: "It is not the ideal scenario, not because he received an offer. It is all the situation about himself. He is not working properly with his team-mates, and when I say it is not the ideal scenario, this is the situation."

Mitrovic, though, has never been one to shy away from confrontation, and he has fully owned his decision - as well as taking the Pro League by storm - in the months that have followed.

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