Aleksandar Mitrovic wants to emulate Alan Shearer at Newcastle United – and one day wear the club’s No 9 jersey.
Mitrovic joined the club last month from Anderlecht in a £13million deal.
Hopefully, in the future, I will be Newcastle’s No9.Aleksandar Mitrovic
And the 20-year-old has been handed the No 45 squad number by head coach Steve McClaren.
Mitrovic – who has followed Newcastle since he was eight – hopes to wear the No 9 shirt, worn with distinction by Shearer, “in the future”.
Papiss Demba Cisse is in possession of the jersey, having taken it several months after Andy Carroll left St James’s Park.
Asked about the iconic shirt, the Serbia international said: “I didn’t ask for it because Papiss Cisse already has it – and I don’t want to fight with him!
“So I have chosen No 45 because it makes nine.
“The number is not a problem.”
But he added: “Hopefully, in the future, I will be Newcastle’s No 9.”
Mitrovic – who trained at St James’s Park in front of more than 13,000 fans yesterday – knows all about Shearer, the club’s all-time leading goalscorer.
“Of course, I know all about him – he’s a legend,” said Mitrovic.
“He’s one of the best strikers in football history.
“I really respect him, and of course it’s an honour to play in his position for his club.”
Mitrovic and Cisse could yet be joined at the club by Queens Park Rangers striker Charlie Austin, who is interesting a number of Premier League clubs.
He said: “Of course, I will welcome the challenge if another striker comes in.
“We need quality strikers and quality players.
“If he (Austin) came, he would be very welcome.”
A number of other clubs were tracking Mitrovic, but the Serbia international felt United was the “best” option for him given its history and the “passion” of the club’s supporters.
“I had choices, but I discussed it all with my father and we decided this was the best option for me,” he said.
“I had a good season in Anderlecht, and of course that helped attract interest, with four or five other clubs after me.
“But this was the best one.
“It is a massive football club with great history and passionate fans.”
Mitrovic is grateful to Anderlecht for the chance they gave him two years ago.
“Of course, I had a great time there,” he said.
“I will always be a fan of them.
“I had two amazing years there, and a lot of special moments.
“Now it’s time for something else – I will always be a fan of them.”
Mitrovic is vying to start Sunday’s Premier League season opener against Southampton at St James’s Park.