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Latest Steve Bruce comments on Joelinton prove the disaster of Mike Ashley picking who Newcastle sign

4 years ago

Amongst the (countless) embarrassing things Steve Bruce has said since his appointment by Mike Ashley, the claim that he (Bruce) made the decision to buy Joelinton is surely the very worst.

Appointed as NUFC Head Coach on 17 July 2019, only five days later Newcastle paid £40m (Mike Ashley claims it was £43m) for the Brazilian striker.

Already left reeling by the decision to replace Rafa Benitez with Championship manager Steve Bruce, the decision to spend £40m/£43m on a striker whose best league season so far was eight goals in the Austrian league, left Newcastle fans stunned.

A total refusal by Ashley to support Rafa in any realistic way since promotion, yet now Newcastle had spent £40m+ on a forward who doesn’t score many goals…

What could possibly go wrong?

Steve Bruce insisted that he’d had the final say on Joelinton, only for Mike Ashley to make clear the deal had been set up and finalised long before Bruce’s appointment. The transfer only delayed until the latest patsy/stooge was put in place, to then pretend he played some part in the signing.

It is bad enough when a Director of Football makes the decisions on signings and a manager/head coach is just handed a new player, having a club owner do this, takes it to a whole new level.

Much as I think Steve Bruce is a disaster in the job, I don’t think even he would have paid £40m+ for Joelinton if he’d had the choice of who to go for. Newcastle had lost their only two goalscorers as Ashley made no attempt to keep Perez and Rondon, then the Joelinton disaster was compounded when the other striker signing to replace Perez/Rondon was somebody who can’t even get on the pitch – sure enough, with 31 games now gone, Andy Carroll has only started four of them and Steve Bruce admits he now hasn’t got a clue when Carroll might come back from his latest injury.

As for Joelinton, Steve Bruce’s comments after the 4-0 defeat at Arsenal tell you everything.

Handed a £40m+ signing that he hasn’t got a clue what to do with…

Steve Bruce was told that Joelinton had touched the ball 47 times in the match but only three of those were in Arsenal’s penalty area, most of the Brazilian’s touches of the ball being on the left side of the pitch around the halfway line, Bruce’s reaction:

“In the opposition box? Really?”

“That seems a strange stat.

“We have to find a way of scoring more and certainly Joe of being more selfish.

“He is 22 years old, he has a lot to learn and give.”

That sums it all up really, Steve Bruce either doesn’t even know how old Joelinton is, or pretends the forward is younger and less experienced than he really is.

Joelinton is actually 23 and turns 24 in August, this is his fifth season in the European leagues, has made 146 appearances in Germany, England and Austria, including 16 games in the Champions League and Europa League.

Whilst you would certainly hope he will improve to a degree in the Premier League, it’s not like he is an 18/19 year old thrown in the deep end.

Steve Bruce’s really poor tactics clearly haven’t helped but Joelinton is not going to suddenly change from one PL goal in seven months to become a regular scorer.

Steve Bruce then added last night:

“We would all like Joelinton to have 12 or 15 goals but [Danny Ings has 15 already for Southampton and cost £20m…) but I was pleased with his performance again.

“He does a lot of unselfish work outside the box but we have to now find a way of getting him into the box for the crosses that Allan (Saint-Maximin) puts in.

“He has played a lot of his career to a side and not played as an out and out number nine.

“But the way he played again today was good, although all strikers are obviously judged by scoring a goal.”

If only Newcastle United had went out and bought a striker who was used to playing through the middle and wants to be there, naturally getting into positions where he might score.

It is baffling that Newcastle were desperate for a goalscoring centre-forward and instead Mike Ashley forced through a £40m+ signing of a wide player, insisting a round hole and square peg had to somehow fit together perfectly.

Reality is, Newcastle have a £10m (£15m max) level utility/team player that Ashley insisted two thirds of the transfer money had to be spent on.

He has then refused to allow Steve Bruce to bring in a new striker, even on loan, in January. Bruce then misleading everybody by claiming at the end of the window that no striker was needed anyway, as Gayle, Muto and Carroll would all be available in time for Arsenal. three strikers who between them have managed to score less than Joelinton’s one goal.

Instead, we bring in three short-term loan players who are unfit due to no/little football in recent months, to help them (Lazaro and Rose) get fit for the summer Euros, meaning that we then end up at Arsenal with the likes of Hayden, Ritchie and Matty Longstaff not getting a game and wondering what’s the point of hanging around at this club?

Rafa Benitez is not the only person who can manage Newcastle United but the catalogue of laughable decisions made since he left, prove that if you don’t have a decent manager in place who is given the power/freedom to make the decisions, this is the kind of mess you end up in.

Some very lucky results this season hasn’t covered up the fact for most fans that we are heading for massive problems, sooner rather than later.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Arsenal 4 Newcastle 0 – Sunday 16 February 2020 4.30pm



Aubameyang 54, Pepe 57, Ozil 90, Lacazette 90+5

Possession was  Arsenal 69%, Newcastle 31%

Total shots were Arsenal 15 Newcastle 10

Shots on target were Arsenal 7, Newcastle 2

Corners were Arsenal 5, Newcastle 6

Crowd: 60,188 (3,000 Newcastle)

Referee: Lee Mason

Newcastle team v Arsenal:

Dubravka, Lazaro (Hayden 74), Fernandez (Ritchie 75), Lascelles, Clark (Schar 83), Rose, Sean Longstaff, Bentaleb, Almiron, Saint-Maximin, Joelinton

Unused Subs

Darlow, Matty Longstaff, Lejeune, Atsu

(Steve Bruce further exposed on Sunday – No other Premier League club would have entertained him – Read HERE)

(Mikel Arteta talks after gratefully accepting the gifts/goals Newcastle United presented to Arsenal – Read HERE)

(Arsenal 4 Newcastle 0 – Watch official match highlights here as NUFC collapse after decent first half – Watch HERE)

(Arsenal 4 Newcastle 0 – Match ratings and comments on all NUFC players – Read HERE)

(Steve Bruce desperate for positives after Arsenal 4 Newcastle 0 – Delighted with 2 players, pleased with Joelinton – Read HERE)

(Arsenal 4 Newcastle 0 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Sunday’s dismal defeat – Read HERE)


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