Newcastle United should hang on to Aleksandar Mitrovic

(L-R) Aleksandar Mitrovic, Georginio Wijnaldum and Jack Colback of Newcastle United look dejected as Wayne Rooney of Manchester United scores their first goal from the penalty spot during...

Newcastle United should hang on to Aleksandar Mitrovic until after the World Cup. It's a gamble but one worth taking for Rafael Benitez.

Moldova's midfielder Alexandru Epureanu (L) fights for the ball with Serbia's forward Aleksandar Mitrovic (R)during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying football match between Serbia and...

According to The Sun, Brighton & Hove Albion are weighing up a January move for Newcastle United's Aleksandar Mitrovic.

The 23-year-old hitman was left out of the squad by Rafael Benitez last time around after serving a three-match ban for elbowing Manuel Lanzini in August.

It remains to be seen whether the Spaniard is merely trying to teach the controversial Newcastle man a lesson or if he genuinely does not want him in the squad.

Aleksandar Mitrovic of Serbia celebrates the victory after FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Serbia and Georgia at stadium Rajko Mitic on October 9, 2017 in Belgrade.

But it's in the Magpies' interest to keep Mitrovic beyond January.

The Serbian is arguably United's best striker and if he can curb his behavioral problem and put together a solid run of goalscoring form in the second half of the campaign then it would be a huge plus for the St James's Park club.

But if he goes and has a productive World Cup for Serbia then his value will surely increase significantly and bigger, richer clubs than Brighton will be after him.

Aleksandar Mitrovic of Newcastle United celebrates after scoring his goal during a pre-season friendly match between Bradford City and Newcastle United at Northern Commercials Stadium on...

The thing is that it isn't that unthinkable for Mitrovic - who has one goal in 19 minutes of Premier League football this season - to do just that; he's a supremely talented striker who can score goals for Newcastle and Serbia. By July of next year he could be Benitez's most valuable player in both senses of the word.

It's barely worth selling in January for what the Seagulls would be able to pay for him. Keeping him until the summer in the hope that he dazzles in Russia is no doubt a gamble, but a gamble probably worth taking. 

The former Anderlecht man, who has 19 goals in 43 starts for his country, would still have another two years to run on his contract by the summer.

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