Record-breaker Mitrovic was 'practically begged' to stay at Fulham

·2-min read

Aleksandar Mitrovic was "practically begged" to stay at Fulham by vice-chairman Tony Khan prior to his record-breaking Championship season.

The Serbia striker scored twice as Fulham battered Luton Town 7-0 on Monday to clinch the title, taking him to 43 league goals for the campaign.

That tally represents a new benchmark for the division, beating Guy Whittingham's 42 registered in the 1992-1993 season.

However, Khan revealed those incredible exploits almost did not happen with Mitrovic having asked to depart after a campaign that saw him score only three times in 27 Premier League appearances and resulted in the Cottagers being relegated.

"He told me he was leaving," Khan said in quotes reported by the Athletic. "He said, 'I cannot come back, I just can't do it.' He didn't play last year. The team were relegated and I don't think it's any secret that he wasn't happy with how the season went. He believed he could have contributed more. He didn't want to come back. I practically begged him to keep an open mind.

"I'm really happy for him. I really like Mitro, as a player and as a person. I'm really proud, too, because when he called me last summer he was very frustrated.

"He didn't want to come back. It's amazing how, 10 months on, so much has changed and everything has fallen into such a perfect place. It's like a storybook."

For his part, Mitrovic conceded the prospect of breaking the record had been on his mind even if he was not openly speaking about the target.

"I know I've always tried to say I've not thought about the record," he said.

"But when you're that close and everybody starts talking about it, so of course I wanted to break it - and now it's happened.

"It was special in a big win. So, I think we finished the season like we dreamed, like we wanted with a big win at home in front of our crowd and I broke the record - everything was perfect."

Fulham have now been either promoted or relegated in each of the past five seasons. Khan had a rather amusing way of displaying his hope the club can buck that trend.

"We've done the first part to get promoted," Khan said. "Now we want to do the other part.

"We definitely need to put together a great season and do everything we can to stay up. We've been focused on building a more sustainable team and I think we can do it.

"I don't want us to be seen that way [as a yo-yo club]. From now on, I just want us to be a yo club."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting