'We are not thinking about selling' – Benitez warns Middlesbrough off Mitrovic

The Newcastle boss insists the striker is not looking to leave St James’ Park despite reported interested from their Premier League neighbours

Rafael Benitez has warned Middlesbrough and any other potential suitors off Aleksandar Mitrovic, despite the Serbian’s lack of game time at Newcastle United.

Mitrovic has been linked with a January move to the Premier League despite only starting four of his 13 Championship appearances under Benitez this season.

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Middlesbrough reportedly head the queue for his services as Aitor Karanka looks to bolster a strikeforce that has only registered 16 goals in 18 league matches.

The form of Dwight Gayle – who has 17 goals in 19 appearances – has limited the chances for 22-year-old Mitrovic, who has registered just three league goals this term.

Benitez insists the striker is not looking to leave the club, though, and is happy to fight for his place in their promotion push.

“We have had a conversation,” Benitez is quoted as saying by The Shields Gazette. “He’s fine, he’s okay and he understands the situation.

“He knows that Gayle is scoring goals and it’s very difficult.

“It’s like with the keepers. They can see [Karl] Darlow is playing well, so they have to wait.

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“I said before that we are not thinking about selling any of these players that are not playing.

“I can’t say 100 per cent I will not sell these players, because you never know. At the moment, we are not thinking about selling.”

One player that does not apply to is Cheick Tiote, with Benitez confirming the Ivory Coast international could leave St James’ Park next month.