‘He forced it’ – Fulham boss takes swipe at Aleksandar Mitrovic as he completes Al-Hilal transfer

Fulham have confirmed they have sold Aleksandar Mitrovic to Al-Hilal for a club record fee.

The Serbian frontman, 28, had made it clear in the summer that he wanted to join the Saudi Arabian outfit in a move which sky-rocketed his wages.

The Whites initially dug in over Mitrovic leaving but Al-Hilal, who have also signed Brazilian superstar Neymar, have hammered out an agreement.

He scored 111 goals in 205 matches for Fulham and was hugely influential in the club twice winning promotion to the Premier League and then retaining their top-flight status last season.

But Mitrovic also had a meltdown in the FA Cup quarter-final defeat against Manchester United, his conduct leading to an eight-game ban which also hampered Marco Silva’s side from finishing even more impressively in the run-in.

Silva, himself the subject of interest over the summer from Saudi, was critical of his number nine’s conduct once Al-Hilal made their move: “If you ask me is it normal? No. Should football players behave in this way? No. Easy answer.

“We want four or five players to sign before the finish of the market. We are going to do our best [to replace him]. We have to find the right player. If not, we are going to face the Premier League with the players we have here. We have to invest.

“The striker market is not an easy one. We are going to do our best to do it, to find the right player to replace him. If you ask me if we are going to invest, I am 100 per cent sure we are going to invest.”

Fulham’s statement confirming Mitrovic’s exit underlined the tension over the manner of his exit.

“The club had reluctantly accepted a revised offer as the player had consistently made his desire to leave known.

“Mitrovic joined Fulham in January 2018, initially on a loan deal before signing permanently that summer. In his first season, he helped the Whites to a Championship play-off final win, securing promotion to the Premier League, the first of his three promotions to the top division.

“During the club’s 2021-22 Championship title-winning campaign, he scored 43 times to set the record for most goals scored in a 46-game English league season, and equal a club record for most goals scored in one campaign.

“We wish Aleksandar all the best in this next step in his career.”

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