Silva ‘cannot guarantee’ Mitrovic will stay

Marco Silva admits Aleksandar Mitrovic might still leave Fulham before the transfer window closes.

Mitrovic, who scored 14 Premier League goals last season, despite serving a long ban for manhandling referee Chris Kavanagh in an FA Cup tie at Manchester United, was a key figure in the Whites’ best top-flight campaign since 2009.

However, he has been the subject of a bid from Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal which was turned down – much to the chagrin of the player, who was keen to make the move.

Silva rejected overtures from Saudi club Al-Ahli to remain at Craven Cottage.

Fulham have signed Raul Jimenez from Wolves this summer to bolster their striking options, but Silva says Mitrovic will be involved in the season opener at Everton on Saturday.

“Mitro was able to play last week two (pre-season) games,” boss Silva said.

“This week again he is training every single day with team-mates. He’s ready to play.

“Mitro is a top striker and we have helped him and were able to get the best out of him in two seasons like no-one has before.

“We know what Mitro was like in the season in the Premier League when the club was relegated and credit to him for the way that he understood ourselves and the way he proved himself at this level.

“But the market is open and everyone is looking for the strikers and they want the best and if they want the best then you would look at Mitro.

“I cannot guarantee he will be with us until the end of the market because I cannot control the market.

“But we are ready if something happens even if something I don’t like what happens.

“I understand the football business and we have to be ready.”

Silva also said Willian was persuaded to remain at the club despite the offer of a lucrative move to Saudi Arabia after being assured the manager was staying.

“Willian loves to be in this football club but I don’t want to link it all with me,” he said.

“As you know I was the person that believed in him last season when no-one in the Premier League did.

“It was one of my priorities to keep Willian with us. It was important for him to understand the plan, the goals, the strategy and who will be the manager.

“I cannot hide that the manager was one of the reasons, but it’s about new signings and the type of football we will be playing as well.”