The only Newcastle signing in the final 34 days of the transfer window, fair to say that the arrival of Joselu didn’t exactly prompt any street parties on Tyneside.

Yet 188 Premier League minutes later for the Magpies and I’m already seeing the Spaniard as a very positive part of this season’s efforts towards survival and hopefully a little bit more than that.

It isn’t that Joselu has looked a world beater, more the good, honest, good quality Premier League level experienced striker we were looking for.

Fair enough, his previous Premier League experience may only amount to 10 starts and 12 appearances off the bench for Stoke City but he has looked totally at ease in these past three matches, playing in the English top tier.

I think it is also now very obvious why Rafa Benitez brought the former Real Madrid striker in.

Once Rafa realised that there would be no final month of the transfer window reprieve for his ambitions, the United clearly had to find somebody at a certain price who could come in and play instantly and who was better than Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Rafa Benitez had shown that even in the Championship he didn’t rate the Serbian (11 starts last season) and with Dwight Gayle’s dodgy confidence/hamstrings, another forward was desperately needed – especially with Daryl Murphy having been sacrificed/sold on early in the window.

Having watched Joselu in his two starts and cameo at Huddersfield, I have already seen enough.

I know I am now at risk of a Geordie Fatwa being placed on my head by Mitro’s barmy army of supporters but…is Mitrovic actually better than Joselu at anything?


May as well get the glaringly obvious out of the way first.

Joselu is no Usain Bolt but clearly can run rings around Aleksandar Mitrovic, whose lack of pace is always going to be a problem in the Premier League.

Holding the ball up

This part of his game has actually improved but for Mitro it still is a case of the ball being perfectly played to him and no defender nipping in front before it even gets to him – with zero chance of the former Anderlecht striker turning a poor/average ball into a good one, by getting there ahead of his marker. Joselu on the other hand has shown he is a willing runner and able to get on the end of hopeful balls forward, holding it up until teammates arrive on the scene.


As well as his goal against West Ham, Joselu has looked a constant threat, getting a number of efforts on target. I can see him easily beating his totals of five for Deportivo and four for Stoke in the past two seasons, the Spaniard only starting 19 league matches in that 24 month period.

When it comes to shooting, Mitrovic has had his moments, but is more Shola than Shearer in terms of striking the ball. Never going to be a natural finisher in my opinion.

Movement in the box

Another easy one to call. As well as his excellent header that produced a world class Fabianski save, Joselu has shown good all round awareness inside the box. In contrast, Mitrovic has little desire to ever get to a ball first when delivered into the box, meaning delivery has to be pinpoint before it has any chance of turning into an opportunity for Newcastle’s number 45.


For a big bloke, this is perhaps the most disappointing aspect of Mitro’s game. He very rarely wins a header in general play and in the penalty area, as mentioned above, it needs to be a perfect cross for him to get on the end of.

As for Joselu, I would say on the evidence so far that he wins something like 75% of headers in open play and is a threat in the box as well in the air, definitely a major strength in his game.

Link up play

Once again, Joselu looks to have very good awareness, releasing the ball at the right times and of course that decent movement meaning he can then get in good positions as the team build attacks. Already showing good inter-passing with teammates.

Again with Mitrovic, his (lack of) movement and often poor touch, invariably leads to moves breaking down, or never getting started.


What can you say?!!

In conclusion, I still can’t find any aspect of play where Mitrovic looks superior to Joselu.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that Mitrovic has nothing to offer but I do feel that everything has to fall right and the service to him totally tailored to his needs, before you get anything decent out of the 22 year old. In contrast, Joselu looks a bit of a decent all round player as well as being very good in the air, someone who will also put in the graft and selfless work that Dwight Gayle also does so well, when fully wound up.

I think Joselu will be first choice for most games in the short to medium term and this will also give Dwight Gayle the chance to hopefully play himself back into form, rather than having that pressure/expectation of being the main supplier of goals.

As for Mitrovic, when he returns from his latest daft suspension, he will be a definite third choice up front. Hopefully there is a better player to be found with him than we have seen so far but he has to find that improvement within himself, rather than waiting for his teammates to give him what he ideally wants/needs.

(All contributions from Newcastle fans welcome, send articles (as well as ideas/suggestions) to [email protected])

  • DC1964

    I like Joselu, he looks a decent player.

    • Cuh

      He definitely is. He will score goals for us

  • bb

    getting sent off
    snidey fouls
    missing easy chances

    do you want some more

    joking aside we have a player on our hands who is committed to the club even if often he has a funny way of showing it and id take him over owen, viduka, smith,kleivert, etc any day of the week.

    id also sell him the first chance we had of replacing him with someone more clinical, which with our owner should mean he sees out his contract,

    • TheNutJob

      with Fat Mike chances are he`d sell him & just not bother replacing him

  • Kneebotherm8

    He’s maybe getting the game time he’s never been afforded in the last few years,it could be the making of him and the early signs are good.

    • Cuh

      Or McClaren’s Dutch contingent

  • glassjawsh-got-banned

    I like the look of Joselu too (so far), but we’ve seen him play all of 195 minutes in a black and white shirt. That’s not nearly enough sample size to judge anything (other than your bias against Mitro’s footballing ability). This post may as well have been titled, “I think Mitro is terrible and here’s why”.

  • TheNutJob

    Well Mitro can score at international level & in the premiership, he didn`t give a bad return for a 20yr old in his 1st season in the prem
    i would hold fire on Joselu, to be honest the 2 games we`ve won were against teams slated to be battling relegation

    • Steve Smith

      So teams that are at least our equals then?

      • Soldier

        you gauge a player over 10 to 12 games mate, not 2

  • Trevor Reaveley

    And Joselu puts himself around a bit. Mitro (love the lad’s passion), will only hassle when someone is very close to him, whereas Joselu was sprinting to the touchline/corner flag etc. to close down and hassle on Sunday.

  • TheFatController

    Mitro is good from the bench as you know he’s going to work the defence and lift fans and team, but currently he doesn’t think in terms of being clever in getting at the opposition, instead putting the emphasis on being seen to be ‘putting himself about’ – but he’ll soon learn to cut that out if he’s not in contention due to it.

    Joselu maybe the player that works in our current (necessitated?) low possession tactic, particularly away from home. I believe his success will rest on his finishing, as he can do all the holding up, link up, battling and harrying needed to stop PL teams building from back, so a goal against Stoke might just be the best thing that could happen for him, confirm him with the fans etc so he stays confident.

    But he certainly looks better than the Xiscos, Rivieres, Pingels of this world …

    • steve

      I think the opposite, he’s terrible from the bench. When given 20 minutes to prove himself he tries to hard, that’s when his indiscipline shows.

      • TheFatController

        No I agree, he’s good if he controls that need to flaunt ‘putting himself about’ being my point here .

        If you remember our (now) 2nd last PL win at Spurs, he came on and scored one and created the winner. Imagine that ability from the bench without the foot left in and arm barging that sadly goes with it far too often …he’s playing to the crowd (what he thinks we all want) and to his reputation still.

    • Kneebotherm8

      Just a smidgeon better than the three you mentionπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚.

  • Paul Patterson

    I’d like to see the both play for a bit but it won’t happen..

  • ghostrider

    Mitro’s major problems are his pace and his temperament, or should I say ticks?
    Mitro is a quality striker but is also a young lad that basically looks well ahead of his years…not in terms of football talent but in terms of his stance as a person and his looks.
    What I’m saying is, he’s a player that, if managed correctly and given enough positive vibes, as well as being allowed to play his natural game without ref’s scuppering it on far too many occasions, then this lad can be prolific for us, but he requires the right set up and forward thought.

    Joselu’s goal return for any club is not too clever if you take out his 40 appearances for Real Madrid B.
    That doesn’t mean a great deal though because a change of club and change of system for a player of his height 6’3″ approx… and his ability to basically do almost everything a forward is required to do, then I back him to be more beneficial to us than all of his other teams.

    They are similar height, so both can do a job for us.
    Who is better?
    Yeah, at this moment in time, I’d say Joselu by far but I also think Mitrovich will explode onto the scene and be literally prolific.
    Whether that’s for us or for someone else, I don’t really know.
    I hope it’s for us.
    I love the pair of them.

    Imagine those two lining up against your defence, eh?

    • wheyayeman

      Given enough positive vibes…Mitro will be literally prolific? Hmm nope

      • ghostrider

        I wouldn’t write him off.

    • Oooh bobbi fleckman

      I agree with all that except Mitro is not fast enough, that’s not to say he’s no good but he needs to play with a fast partner or a no.10 who pushes unto the box with a bit a pace.

      Rafa doesn’t seem to like 2 up front or a no.10 which means Mitro will look limited in our side.

    • Allan Kidd

      A young lad???He’s 24 FFS.

      • ghostrider

        He’s 22.
        23 on the 16 September.
        A young lad.

  • Grahame Johnson

    May I just say manquillo has played the last 2 games and he has been solid yet again a player who does what Rafa says and becomes a better player

    • Andy Mac

      You may Graham with an e.

      Strange how he was allegedly shlte while with the makems ? Same story as Yedlinny ?

      • Kneebotherm8

        Messi would struggled playing for the mackems last year.

  • 1957

    For me we’ve looked a better team having a focal point up front for others to play off and Gayle doesn’t provide that. IMO for now Joselu would clearly be first choice at the moment, with Mitrovic as backup when he is available. Dwight needs to be moved on and a better player with some physical presence brought in in January but given our record with transfers its not likely.

  • Mrkgw

    On the evidence of things so far, Joselu looks to be a very good signing and a snip at Β£5m by today’s standards.

  • Damon Horner

    Signs are good for Joselu, contrary to the stick he was getting before he kicked a ball…

    When it comes to his link up play and his heading I’ve been impressed with how creative he can be and his improvisation when it looks an average ball in.

    Still wouldn’t knock Mitro, he has a raw quality which will be used to good effect when he works with a manager who’ll develop him more.

  • Cuh

    An entertaining article from one of those individuals who Mitrovic does his new celebration for… ☝

    Let’s be careful to avoid another Demba Ba – Pappis CissΓ© situation.

  • Steve Pearce

    Hoselu wins hands down – but the great danger for me is if we finish in the top 5 and qualify for Europe, our owner could say that as we spent hardly any money on our new players and we got that far we don’t need any more in the summer window. Before the usual howls of derision can I just say that with the possible exception of Liverpool, our fixtures until December are working in our favour and we could benefit from a good run of results. So we need Hoselu to play as many games as possible and not be banned for three of them!

    • Mal

      Good point about the fixtures up to December. I’m not worried about the trip to Old Trafford either 😺

    • Georgia Peter

      Liverpool are blowing hot and cold as they have for a number of seasons , so catching them on the best day for us may just happen….. who knows..!

    • Geordie-7676

      I can guarantee you now that the danger you mention will NOT come to fruition.

      Top 5? That is just about the biggest lump of wishful thinking i have seen on here in a long time!

      • Steve Pearce

        What’s wrong with having a little faith in our team and its manager?

        • Geordie-7676

          Absolutely nothing wrong with that at all pal, but faith should be realistic surely?

  • Mal

    Joselu has been terrific so far and is clearly first choice. I do think a big factor in our improved performances is Moreno and suddenly we seem to be providing much more support to our lone striker. This is reflected in our number of goal attempts from different areas of the team. I’m hoping if Mitro was brought in for whatever reason he would benefit from this and we would see a big improvement. That’s my theory anyway.

  • custurd

    “Is there anything Mitrovic can do better than Joselu?” Err… score premier league goals, based on current evidence.

  • Martin Rooney

    Score goals what a waste of ya time hahaha

  • Kev-82

    At the moment it looks like Joselu offers more than Mitro, jury is still out till I’ve seen more of him as so far I can see a decent player but can’t shoot, most of his shots seem to trickle off his foot to the keeper.

    Rafa’s system is never going to work for Mitro, and I can’t see the system ever changing. It’s a shame because I think he could do a job in a team suited to him (if he keeps himself on the pitch).

  • Kneebotherm8

    They’re both in the squad(till January at least),they’ll both get game time so let’s just hope they can both deliver when required to do so. Merino might be a godsend for them both if he carries on in the (inventive and creative) way he’s started.

  • Geordiegiants


  • Desree

    Mitrovic has the potential to be as good as Tony Cascarino. He is a player who belongs in the 80’s.
    I get the fans are looking for someone to fill Shearers boots. Perception is reality as they say.
    As an aside is Mitro the cart horse Ashley famously talked of buying in his interview before the west ham game?

  • wheyayeman

    Dear Mag Are you banning all my comments now just because I slated the slug who owns us and want to see protest groups and fans unite in a co-ordinated effort to get him out ?

    • Clarko

      You should be banned.
      The fact you think you could do a better job than Ash blows my mind.

  • Wor Lass

    Two completely different players and characters. I like the look of Joselu but I also like Mitro. Whatever the relative merits of the two, one thing Mitro has done that Joselu hasn`t is score regularly at full international level. Clarko will be proud of me because that is a non-judgmental fact.

    • Clarko


      • Wor Lass

        You`re a tad too desperate to provoke some sort of reaction these days, m8ty-boy.

        • Jimblag23

          If we ignore him he might go away.

    • Toonrobbybobson

      To get into Spanish setup is only ever slightly harder than Serbian…

      • Wor Lass

        So we`re criticising him for being Serbian? Seriously, my point is simply that he`s putting the ball away regularly at international level so he can`t be all that bad – especially as he`s only playing for Serbia. I`ve absolutely nothing but praise for Joselu and the attitude he`s shown so far.

  • anyobrien

    He’s beta at ganin mental like

  • Down Under Mag

    As long as whoever plays manages to get a few goals for us then I don’t really care to be honest. I love Mitro’s passion for the club and the fans BUT there are still understandably huge question marks over him at times. Joselu seems to have settled pretty quickly and offers a good solid consistent type of play and at the moment where we stand I would take XI players who know their place/role in the side and work hard for the TEAM rather than any individuals who are capable of winning a match on their own but are inconsistent and go missing for games on end. We have a good work ethic right now and good discipline….every player seems to be pulling in the same direction and that is what is helping us. Let’s see how that continues against Stoke.

    • Toonrobbybobson

      Agreed however on that basis we’d all rate Steven Taylor just because he fist pumps.

  • NUFCDan

    Good problem to have though – 3 decent strikers all with different atributes. Gives the team some options if chasing a game.

  • fistsofsteel2

    Goals per minutes played ratio…..

    Mitrovic deserves a proper run in the team. He’s still only 22. We’ll sell him and he’ll end up being superb.