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Journalist blames Newcastle United head of recruitment for disastrous £40m Joelinton signing

4 years ago

It is one of the great whodunnits of modern times, who pulled the trigger and is responsible for Newcastle United signing Joelinton?

Or to put it more correctly, who is to blame for Newcastle paying £40m (Mike Ashley says it was £43m) to buy a striker who it is now acknowledged isn’t even a centre-forward or regular goalscorer.

The extra layer of bizarre to this signing of course, is that Mike Ashley suddenly was willing to approve paying £40m+ for one player, after having refused to allow Rafa Benitez to even pay more than £10m for a single player after promotion in 2017, until the £20m capture of Miguel Almiron five months before Ashley forced Rafa out of St James Park.

Now one of Steve Bruce’s friends and also most supportive journalists, reckons he knows who to point the finger at.

Writing in The Telegraph, Luke Edwards declares:

‘Quite how this mistake was made is unclear. Chief scout Paul Nickson appears to be to blame, although there is also a suspicion Newcastle were also keen as they felt it would help them bring in more South Americans playing in Europe.

He is flat-footed in the box and for someone of his size and with his athleticism, does not attack the near or far post in the air. When you spend £40m on a striker, they are expected to score goals.’

The chief scout (head of recruitment) is actually Steve Nickson but even then I think Steve Bruce’s journo mate has still got it badly wrong.

The scouting team’s job is surely to go out and monitor players and make recommendations, for then those higher up the scale to make.

Thanks to Mike Ashley himself, we already know that in February 2019 the NUFC owner was desperate to have a £43m deal to sign Joelinton signed off, only for Rafa Benitez (who had the power to say no to any transfer deal, even if little to no power to get the deals he did want, to go through and in good time) to refuse to do so and telling the owner that the Brazilian was worth £20m at the very most.

To ignore the advice of a top class manager that you employ, who has evaluated this striker recommended by the recruitment team (along with numerous other players), to then force that top class manager out in order to force through the Joelinton transfer and the return of the patsy manager model…

Well surely the only person you can truly blame for the ridiculous £40m / £43m Joelinton transfer, is Mike Ashley.

After that, it would have to be Steve Bruce next in line for blame, for agreeing to the Brazilian signing and / or being too weak to say this was the wrong move for a club to bring in a player with no goalscoring pedigree (along with another who is permanently unfit), when the club had just lost its only two goalscorers.

It would maybe have been different if Newcastle United had a high level Director of Football and as you get at some other clubs, you get a battle of wills between the DOF and manager in terms of which players should be bought.

Mike Ashley was paying Rafa Benitez a reported £6m in 2018/19, we now know Lee Charnley received £267,000 that season, Steve Nickson would have been (and still will be) on a fraction of what even Charnley was / is on.

So to claim it is Nickson’s fault makes zero sense. Even if you believed that Mike Ashley paid £40m / £43m based on Nickson’s recommendation, it would still be Ashley’s fault, due to the sheer obvious stupidity of putting that judgement / recommendation above that of a world class manager.

Steve Bruce says he believes that Joelinton can still make it and I agree with that.

However, Joelinton hasn’t been done any favours by Bruce’s terrible negative tactics, which have also stifled ASM and Almiron this season. Or the Head Coach’s insistence on continuing to play Joelinton as an out and out isolated centre-forward when it was clear he is anything but suited to that.

Bottom line is that as Rafa Benitez judged the situation, bringing in Joelinton as a £15m, £20m at the very most, supporting striker / attacking player, the former Hoffenheim player could have been a very decent signing.

Whatever happens now, it is very clear that we won’t be seeing a top quality striker scoring a serious number of goals for fun, instead you will at best see a pretty decent support player who should never have had £40m+ paid for him, when Newcastle were desperate for two goalscorers.

Steve Bruce talking to The Telegraph:

“I can honestly say, I don’t think I’ve worked with a player in all my years as a manager who I would be happier to see prove the critics wrong.

“He is a smashing lad and he will come good.

“Strikers are judged on goals and I don’t think Jo is a natural goalscorer. It is something we are working on constantly and until he starts scoring regularly, he is going to be a target for criticism.

“We’ve got to work through that and get him into more goalscoring positions. It’s not just about him, though. In too many games we have not had that offensive threat, we need to help him out by creating more chances.

“He is young, he’s learning and I think the Premier League was a bit of a shock. He wouldn’t be the first and he will not be the last to have a tough first year.

“I just think he is one of those players who, in a couple of years, people will be saying what a talent he is. I certainly hope so.”


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