It has been a debut season to forget for Newcastle’s record signing Joelinton. With only one Premier League goal to his name, and a couple in the cup, the end product does not look good for a £40m signing.
Coming into the club, and been given the famous number 9 shirt, regardless of price, undoubtably a lot of pressure and willingness to succeed was put on the young Brazilian forward.
The fact remains though, that £40m was spent on a striker, who by his managers own admission isn’t a striker, and who has provided ONE league goal in 29 appearances, along with two assists, and six yellow cards, combined with 2 goals in the FA Cup. However the stats are that dissimilar from his last season at Hoffenheim, where he scored 7 goals, and a single goal in the champions league.
There were a lot of comparisons to Robert Firmino when Joelinton first signed, similar paths and stats to get to the Premier league. In fairness to Joelinton though, Firmino wasn’t brought in to replace a powerful centre forward who scored 12 goals for the club in the previous season, when your entire career you have played out on the left.
For what it’s worth I think the comparisons with Firmino are unfair. He does remind me of Jon Dahl-Tomasson. In the fact he has played the majority of his Newcastle career out of position. Tomasson was expected to replace Shearer, when the club legend got injured, when he wasn’t really an out-and-out striker, definitely not on Shearer’s level and struggled. Likewise Joelinton has been brought in to replace the Rondon and Perez goals from last season!
The young Brazilian actually looked decent in pre-season, scoring against both Hibs away and St Ettienne at home, couple in with that scoring the winner in our first victory of the season away to Spurs. It does seem to have gone wrong from their.
It could be a confidence issue, it could be the fact that for a majority of the season he has been alone up front, and has had to track back on numerous occasions, probably why his defensive stats are fairly decent. It must be hard for a young lad coming to a new country, to a new league, and fitting into a different style of play and a different position, with the added pressure of having the clubs most historic number, and clubs most expensive player tags.
That is why I think the culmination of the season we could see an improved Joelinton. With no fans, who understandably get frustrated with the young player, getting on his back, he will be able to just get on with his game, hopefully enjoy his football, and show everyone that there is a player in there.
When optimism was high for the new signing, he was performing well, even against Arsenal in the first game, I thought the lad looked half decent. Since his goal at Spurs, there have been some sub-par performances, blanks fired, and the pressure grew! With football behind closed doors, there isn’t as much pressure from a sell out St James’, and he can show us the player everyone tells us they see in training. In fact in the three warm up games the team have played to prepare for the restart, Joe has scored twice, took the defence out of the equation for Almiron’s goal against Middlesborough, and just before Saint-Maximim scored against Hull, tried an audacious bicycle kick, which I have never seen him try in a game.
This shows that hopefully his confidence is growing, and a run of goals that will undoubtably be virtually celebrated, we could see a completely new player.
The issue then arises if the same happens next season, and we end up back at the beginning. There is a player there, even Rafa thought there was a player, but didn’t want to pay £40 million for him.
No disrespect to Steve Bruce, he seems a lovely bloke, but you get the feeling with a better coach, you could see a different animal from the Brazilian number 9!