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Opinion

Why Newcastle fans should blame Mike Ashley not Joselu

4 years ago
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Poor old Joselu has started to get it in the neck.

Newcastle fans, particularly vocal on social media, calling for him to be ‘rested’.

Arriving after the start of the season for £5m from Stoke, fair to say it wasn’t the kind of striker signing many supporters envisaged at the end of last season, and when Daryl Murphy moving to Forest rubber stamped that a new forward was imminent.

The fact it took so long to happen told us everything.

Rafa Benitez repeatedly said in public that he he hoped Mike Ashley would keep his promises – he didn’t, and Rafa was left desperately scrambling around for a striker who could do a ‘job’.

With fitness/confidence issues hanging over Dwight Gayle and zero confidence in Mitrovic, Joselu is what you get for £5m these days.

He tries his hardest and was instantly thrown in against Huddersfield ahead of Mitrovic when Gayle was subbed, only a few days after signing on at St James Park.

The next eight games Joselu has been in the starting eleven.

He runs around a lot, tries to compete for every header, tracks back, but he isn’t very good – at this level at least.

The Spaniard has scored twice – the first when kind of falling over the ball but still managing to divert it past the West Ham keeper, then sent clear by Shelvey against Liverpool, he allowed himself to get caught by the centre-back, only for Matip to hilariously then kick his clearance off Joselu, completely confusing Mignolet in the away goal.

Joselu is what he is, a not very good striker doing his very best for the team.

I have no complaints about what he is doing, it is Mike Ashley’s fault that we haven’t got a decent standard Premier League striker up front.

Rafa waited and waited to be backed in getting one, then simply had to make the best of a bad job.

Buying a 27 year old Stoke reserve that they were happy to move on for £5m, especially in today’s market, should surely have told you what Newcastle were signing.

Delving even just below the surface told you he had only been given 10 Premier League starts in his one season at Stoke and in 2016/17 a very poor Deportivo side only gave him nine league starts.

In his entire career the only time he has scored double figures in a league season, was for Real Madrid reserves in the third tier of Spanish football.

No club has played him in their first team, two seasons in a row.

To me, rather than disappointing, Joselu has actually played way beyond his abilities for Newcastle – but sadly has been over-exposed.

Two goals in his first five starts and so unlucky with that header which produced a brilliant save at Huddersfield, we would be looking at a very decent signing, if say Dwight Gayle had returned fully fit after four or five games and translated his Championship form to the Premier League.

Instead though, we are left with an eternal triangle, Joselu having to soldier on game after game due to Gayle’s fitness/confidence issues, Rafa’s total lack of faith in Mitro, and in particular – Mike Ashley’s crass stupidity when it came to not allowing Rafa to buy a Premier League goalscorer.

You see West Brom paying out £13m for Rodriguez in the summer, Watford buying Andre Gray for £18m, and many others putting a credible amount of money on the table to try and buy goals.

Personally, I don’t really care whether it is Mitrovic, Gayle, or Joselu, who starts against Bournemouth.

Sadly, none of them (in my opinion..) are good enough but if whoever plays tries as hard as Joselu then I will be happy with what we get from them, in terms of certainly not blaming them if Newcastle don’t win.

I would though continue to blame Mike Ashley for leaving both Rafa Benitez and the fans in this position.
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