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Steve Bruce has admitted Mike Ashley spent £43m on striker who “might not be a natural goalscorer…”

9 months ago
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Joelinton has scored two league goals in over 14 months.

Once in the Bundesliga and once in the Premier League.

Mike Ashley ridiculed Rafa Benitez for not agreeing to the £43m purchase of the then Hoffenheim player.

Once he’d pushed Rafa out of the door, Ashley then made sure that Joelinton was his first signing, waiting for Steve Bruce to be appointed to at least pretend that the new Head Coach had any say on that and any future signings.

I don’t often feel sorry for Steve Bruce because he knew exactly what he was agreeing to when he accepted Mike Ashley’s terms for the job…but this weekly charade is just embarrassing.

Bruce pushed out in front of the cameras before each game, to defend the £43m purchase and explain why he is continuing to pick Joelinton every week.

Joelinton has started 25 of the 26 Premier League games and came on as a sub in another, plus he’s started all four FA Cup matches. It is very difficult to believe anything other than one Ashley order he must follow, is picking the number nine regardless.

Today though we have seen an astonishing, maybe inadvertent, admission from Steve Bruce.

Sounding ever more desperate in talking about the Brazilian’s struggles, Bruce on Friday saying about Joelinton; ‘He might not be a natural goalscorer…’

Hmmm, I think we might have worked that one out ourselves.

The thing is, there is absolutely nothing in the striker’s career that suggests Newcastle should have paid anything like £43m for Joelinton. It defies belief.

In top leagues (Bundesliga/Premier League), Joelinton has scored eight goals in 55 league appearances. Even when you add in his two seasons in Austria, it becomes only 23 goals in 115 league appearances in Europe, a goal every five games on average. Whilst in Brazil he was no regular goalscorer either as a young player.

It was pure madness to sign him and Rafa Benitez shown to be absolutely correct. As for Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce…

After the Arsenal match,  journalist asked Steve Bruce about the number of touches Joelinton had had in the match.

Steve Bruce 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.”

Apart from seemingly not been aware that Joelinton turns 24 in August, Bruce’s comments were incredible.

What on earth happens in training and how can he not have realised that the Brazilian gets in the box so rarely?

Today he says about Joelinton not been a ‘natural goalscorer’ but then surely training should see Steve Bruce making sure that it is all about making him get into the box and learning how to score goals. Joelinton should in training be doing routine after routine where he is in, or arriving in, the box and practice his finishing. Then in matches if the number nine is not making run after run into the box, Steve Bruce should be instantly reacting and telling him where he is going wrong.

Not needing a journalist pointing it out to him after Joelinton’s 30th game of the season…

Steve Bruce talking about Joelinton to Sky Sports:

“The only thing we can do is try and keep encouraging the lad.

“He’s had a sharp learning curve.

“All of them it is easy in training, easy, there is no pressure on, it is what they do every day.

“But we know that there is a talent there, he’s a talented player and the kid has got a heart as big as himself.

“So, we all hope though that he can score a few more.

“It has been a sharp learning curve for him, as I have just said, and he will learn from what has been a difficult first half of the season.

“So as long as he keeps working at it and showing the right attitude for it, then we are convinced we have got a player in there.

“He might not be a natural goalscorer…

“And I think that’s the key to it you know.

“He has go to be a bit more selfish and think just about himself and scoring a goal.

“Because ultimately, ultimately, no matter what I say…

“Strikers are judged by goals and assists and in that respect, it has been a struggle for him.”

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