Alyson Rudd has a terrific piece in the Times this morning about the pivotal role Snapchat played in Aleksandar Mitrovic’s late, late loan move to Fulham on transfer deadline day.
There has always been a bit of intrigue about how the fiery Serbian striker ended up being reunited with his old mentor Slavisa Jokanovic at Craven Cottage – despite Fulham’s interest in the Newcastle United forward dating back to last winter’s window. Mitrovic tells the story of a dramatic deadline day where he seemed all set to rejoin his old club Anderlecht only for the deal that was going to finance Mitrovic’s return to full through at the eleventh hour. He wasn’t keen on joining Newcastle’s local rivals Middlesbrough and ended up scrolling through Snapchat, where he alighted on Jokanovic’s name.
Rudd tells what happened next very well indeed:
“How are you?” he said via Snapchat and Jokanovic half-jokingly replied that he was waiting for Mitrovic’s deal with Anderlecht to collapse.
“It’s your lucky, day,” replied the striker, “the deal is broken.”
They chatted again, after Jokanovic had cleared the deal with the club’s board. It was 11pm and they had to find a doctor for the medical. The necessary papers were somehow exchanged and signed by 11.45pm.
Mitrovic is delighted with his move to work under the man who was the manager at Partizan Belgrade when the tall forward was earning rave reviews in the youth team. After his promising debut on Saturday against Nottingham Forest – where his introduction as a second half substitute changed the course of the contest – the Fulham fans are pleased with Mitrovic, too.
I chose Fulham because of the style, because of the coach. Fulham play the best football in the league, definitely. It is the best move for me, even better than Anderlecht probably.
Jokanovic has already instructed his new signing not to place Fulham’s promotion push in any jeopardy.
Slavisa has told me not to do stupid things. He says I have to put my passion into scoring goals, not to do some crazy tackles. I understand this and agree with him.
Mitrovic is hopeful of using his loan spell in London to get some much-needed game time ahead of Serbia’s participation in this summer’s World Cup. The striker insists his side travels to Russia in good heart after an excellent qualifying campaign – and believes the team can surprise a few people at the finals, having been drawn in a group alongside Brazil, Switzerland and Costa Rica.
To be Serbian is the proudest thing in my life. The country has been through a lot of wars. We never give up, we fight for our freedom. The Serbian mentality is really strong because of what we have been through. I bet every single Serbian thinks the way I think. It will be the biggest moment in our football careers, in our lives. If we need to give blood we will give blood just to represent our people in the best way we can.