Striker linked with Arsenal deal banned for three games for 'spitting'

Serbia Partizan Belgrade Graffiti

Arsenal may be glad they did not go ahead with a deal for young striker Aleksandar Mitrovic.

One of the many small chapter in Arsenal's storied summer of transfer gossip involved the young striker Aleksandar Mitrovic.

The Serbian broke into Partizan Belgrade's first team last season, bagging 23 goals in all competitions helping them win the league.

Reports in his homeland claimed that the 18-year-old was close to sealing a deal for the prospect, who broke into Serbia's international first team over the summer.

Any interest from Arsenal was not followed up on, with the whizkid sealing a switch to Belgian side Anderlecht instead.

Having celebrated his 19th birthday last week, Mitrovic has begun his career in the Jupiler Pro League in outstanding form.

In his opening three games he has bagged two goals and provided two assists, proving no problems in adapting on the pitch to a foreign country.

Yet his season has hit an early hitch. Mitrovic was this Monday (23/9) handed a three-match ban for spitting, with it claimed he did so provocatively in front of supporters of opponents Club Brugges.

He via his agent denied any wrongdoing, but has accepted the ban from the Belgian FA without challenge.

If Nicklas Bendtner is the answer, what is the question?

It hints at why Arsenal may not have pursued their interest in him. Mitrovic is clearly a supremely gifted youngster, but equally he is likely not mature enough for a club as challenging as the Gunners.

Already in his short career he has picked up two red cards, and three suspensions for accumulated yellow cards. Ready for the intensity and spotlight of the Premier League he is not.

Mitrovic remains a player the top clubs like Arsenal will continue to monitor, especially if he can keep up his prolific goalscoring. But keeping his head down and staying out of trouble will come hand-in-hand if he wants to stand the best chance of securing his next move.

image: © zongo

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