FulhamSport

Exclusive: Mitrovic’s wish to move to Al Hilal from Fulham is not just about money, says Canada World Cup star

BY ALESSANDRO SCHIAVONE

Canada’s World Cup goalkeeper from Qatar 2022 is not one bit startled by Aleksandar Mitrovic’s apparent desire to leave Fulham and the Premier League for a fresh challenge in the burgeoning Saudi Pro League.

Circled by Al Hilal, where the Serbian centre-forward would trouser a staggering £21.3million-per-year, it now comes down to the two clubs reaching an agreement with the Whites reluctant to sell their goal machine after he bagged 111 goals in five-and-a-half seasons.

Former Red Star Belgrade stopper Borjan Milan, who has Serbian origins like Mitrovic, claimed that the rise of the Saudi Arabian top-tier from a sporting perspective will make it harder and harder for the world’s elite to knock back lucrative bids.

The 29-year-old has had his head turned by Al Hilal’s highly remunerative offer but feels he’s being priced out of a move by Fulham who have reportedly slapped a £52m price tag on his head in a bid to fend off interest in their main man.

Yet Milan, who started all three group games against Belgium, Croatia and Morocco at the FIFA World Cup last winter, thinks that there’s more than just generational wealth at stake for European stars when they decide to try their hand in the gulf country.

He exclusively told the South London Press: “Saudi Arabia is getting bigger and bigger from year to year.

“They want to expand their football and make it competitive you know? And that’s why they are bringing big players in. They are giving good money so the best players go there.

“And here we go – Mitrovic is one of the best strikers in the Premier League.

“He’s an amazing guy and if he leaves Fulham that’s a good move for him and his family. Money-wise and football-wise (as well) because Saudi Arabia is getting bigger and bigger in football.”

This summer Milan made the switch from the Serbian giants to Slovakian side Slovan Bratislava.

Observing the league’s growth from afar, he feels it’s just a matter of time before it establishes itself just behind the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and Bundesliga as one of the planet’s top five divisions.

A string of high-profile names including Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, Ruben Neves and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic already left European football Saudi Arabia, epitomising the sheikhs’ ridiculous spending powers and ambitions for the upcoming years.

Borjan added: “Top five? In future, yes. Right now, it’s growing but in the future it can be one of the best leagues in the world. If I’d consider a hypothetical offer? You never know [because] life is crazy so you never know.”

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