How Middlesbrough nearly signed ex-Newcastle United frontman Aleksandar Mitrovic before Fulham switch
Middlesbrough boss Jonathan Woodgate is well aware of the threat which Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic will pose this weekend and remembers when Boro tried to sign the frontman from Newcastle.
The Serb almost joined the Teessiders in January 2018, shortly after the arrival of Tony Pulis, but instead made the switch to Championship rivals Fulham on loan.
At the time, Mitrovic, now 25, said he was convinced to choose the Cottagers after a Snapchat exchange with then-Fulham manager and fellow countryman Slavisa Jokanovic.
Since then, the Serb has made his move to London permanent and is in red-hot form ahead of Saturday’s trip to the Riverside, following a hat-trick in Wednesday’s 3-2 win over Luton.
“He’s a Premier League striker playing in the Championship,” said Woodgate when asked about Mitrovic and Scott Parker’s Fulham side. “Most of their players are Premier League players playing in the Championship. He’s a really good player.
“He nearly signed for us in Tony Pulis’ first January transfer window, we were close to signing him so he’s always been a target of ours.
“Something went on and we didn’t sign him, if we did who knows.
“He’s a really good player, really good talent, good age, Scott has got him playing well.”
Mitrovic isn’t the only one Boro will have to be wary of on Saturday, though, and Woodgate also identified wingers Anthony Knockaert and Ivan Cavaleiro as potential threats.
“I’ve watched a lot of their games this season, I know Scott personally, he’s got them playing well,” added Woodgate.
“They’ll be up probably in the top two by the end of the season. They play football, they are relentless with the ball. They’ve got some really top players.”
But, despite Boro’s recent struggles, Woodgate still believes his side can get something from the game.
“How have we done against the top teams this season?, we’ve played well against most of them,” added Woodgate.
“Every game is difficult in the Championship, who’d have thought Hull would have beat Forest, who’d have thought Stoke would have beat Fulham. You’ve got to turn up.”