Is Aleksandar Mitrovic ready to replace Wilfried Bony at Swansea City?
(Photo: Johan Eyckens / Photo news)
Wilfried Bony moved from Swansea City to Manchester City. The former Vitesse striker had a big impact on Garry Monk’s Premier League team and it won’t be easy to find a striker with the same qualities. Bony scored 25 goals in 43 League appearances for The Swans. According to Belgian and English media, Huw Jenkins is looking at Anderlecht’s Aleksandar Mitrovic to replace the Ivory Coast striker.
Aleksandar Mitrovic arrived in Anderlecht in 2013 for a record breaking €5.000.000. Before playing a single match, the pressure on the 18 year old Serbian striker was immense. Mitrovic brought some controversy to Belgium with his special haircuts. Every two weeks he changed his haircut from weird to special back to weird. The Belgian press wondered whether Mitrovic really was the best option for Anderlecht, certainly for the fee paid for him.
Nonetheless, Mitrovic did what Herman Van Holsbeeck (General Manager) and Roger Vanden Stock (Anderlecht’s President) expected from him, scoring goals and being the leading man for the club. His first Champions League campaign wasn’t a success but he played a big role in Anderlecht’s title charge with 16 league goals in his first season.
2013-2014 was an arduous season for Mitrovic with a lot of international matches with the Serbia U21 side, who played in the World Cup final, plus matches in September with his former club Partizan, European games with Anderlecht and the league itself. Anderlecht gave him some extra rest days but that wasn’t a good idea. Mitrovic came back 0verweight and had to follow a special diet and fitness program to get back in shape.
In the beginning of 2014, Besnik Hasi took over from John van den Brom, who had been sacked after some bad results. The Dutch coach was known as a coach who played a lot of small sided games during training sessions without concentrating on his players’ stamina. He gave his players a lot of freedom hoping that they would act like a professional football player when they’re not at the club. Hasi is different, he’s a coach who demands discipline from his players and doesn’t tolerate any lack of interest.
Besnik Hasi didn’t need much time to get his young players on the right track. Mitrovic and his young teammates had an impressive run in the Play Offs and surprisingly won the Championship after ending third in the regular competition. Hasi knows how to handle players like Mitrovic but the Serbian attacker won’t get that much time in the Premier League. At the other hand, Belgian fans and journalists expected too much from the goalscorer. What he shows at his age is still impressive, though he will have to change his mentality.
When Mitrovic scored a goal for Anderlecht he always made an obscene gesture by moving with his tongue between two fingers. We all have seen that gesture before and know what it means in the western part of Europe. According to Mitrovic it didn’t have anything to do with that. He just wanted, in a matter of speaking, to cut off the tongues of everybody who criticised him. Since then, Mitrovic has been working hard to persuade the doubters. Now, he shows a heart for some children who are in hospital. A promise he made when he visited them with some teammates.
Mitrovic is a warrior in the box, a nightmare for every defence on set-pieces. He’s so strong that it’s almost impossible to get the ball from him. If he could improve his conversion rate, he would now already be one of the best strikers in Europe. He scored two goals in the Champions League this season but misses too many “easy” chances. Five minutes later he scores an incredible header against one of the best defenders in the Bundesliga.
The Serbian international is still a raw diamond and will have to go to a club where the coach adores him and pushes him to the next level. Mitrovic is a real Balkan boy, who brings some controversy to the game but does show compassion deep down. If players, staff and fans give him confidence, Mitrovic will shine and could become one of Europe’s best strikers.