Fulham have a lot to thank Snapchat for.
While 99% of the planet use Snapchat for d*ck pics, dog ear filters and rainbow vomit, Fulham utilised it for a spot of deadline day scouting.
Slavisa Jokanovic sent a couple of snaps over to fellow Serbian Aleksandar Mitrovic and before you could say ‘screenshot’ the former Newcastle man was firing Fulham to the Premier League.
Mitrovic joined Fulham on 1 February 2018.
At 7pm on 26 May 2018, by which point Fulham were promoted to the Premier League via the play-offs, Mitrovic had scored 14 goals in 19 games for club and country.
His first game after that jubilant day at Wembley, a 5-1 win against Bolivia, saw Mitrovic score a hat-trick.
He then went on to net a first World Cup goal, during the 2-1 defeat at the hands of Switzerland.
In short, Mitrovic has been dealing in the currency of goals lately. And business is booming.
A lack of a summer holiday doesn’t seem to have done Mitrovic any harm.
That shouldn’t really come as a surprise given Mitrovic possesses the frame of a man raised purely on red meat and stout.
Four goals in Fulham’s first four Premier League games mean he’s currently the division’s joint-top goalscorer, alongside Liverpool’s Sadio Mane.
Two goals for Serbia against Romania, the latter of which was a genius piece of improvisation followed by brutal power, took the 23-year-old above Nikola Zigic as his country’s all-time record goalscorer.
While Zigic was a genuine lump, whose 6ft 7in frame scared even Pep Guardiola, Mitrovic has showed technique and link-up play of the highest order this season.
So is it time to start talking about him as one of Europe’s best forwards?
If you’re purely motivated by numbers then the answer is a resounding ‘yes’.
No player has scored more goals in all four divisions of English football since Mitrovic joined Fulham.
Not Mohamed Salah. Not Harry Kane. Not Sergio Aguero. Not Romelu Lukaku. Not even Saido Berahino.
In that same period Mitrovic has scored eight goals for Serbia at an average of one every 93 minutes.
Mitrovic’s knack for scoring goals hasn’t come out of the blue, despite a relatively barren run at Newcastle.
He was part of the new ‘golden generation’ of Serbian youngsters that won the Under-19 Euros in 2013.
Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic might be the most sought after signing of the crop but it was Mitrovic who picked up the Golden Player award at the tournament.
A year later he added the Belgian Pro League golden boot to his trophy cabinet after scoring 20 goals in 37 games for Anderlecht.
It’s amazing Anderlecht didn’t go on to win the title that season, given Besnik Hasi could also call upon Dennis Praet, Leander Dendoncker, Steven Defour and Youri Tielemans.
Failure at Newcastle, where Mitrovic felt Rafa Benitez’s system played against his strengths, means there’s still scepticism around his ability to play at the top level.
But Mitrovic has time on his side, despite making his professional first-team debut for Teleoptik back in 2011.
Right now, he couldn’t be doing more to silence the sceptics.
READ MORE FROM THE WORLD OF DREAM TEAM:
- Kylian Mbappe is on track to seamlessly succeed Karim Benzema for club and country
- What does it take to become a scout for Man United?
- The rise, fall, rise, fall and rise of Ryan Babel’s international career
WATCH: Love Of The Game: Leyton Orient (Episode 1)