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Opinion

Newcastle United need to just take the £10m for Joelinton and move on

5 months ago
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It is now over 16 months since Joelinton signed for Newcastle United.

Steve Bruce was confirmed as NUFC Head Coach on 17 July 2019, then only six days later the club more than doubled their (incoming) transfer record.

The transfer fee paid to Hoffenheim reported as £40m at the time but later Mike Ashley stating it had been £43m.

Joelinton wasn’t a name instantly recognisable to Newcastle fans, or at least most of them, so they did what they always do in these circumstances.

NUFC supporters searching the internet for information and clips of him in action.

They found that Newcastle United (Mike Ashley) had bought a 22 year old Brazilian striker, who had just had a promising first season in the Bundesliga, with seven goals and five assists in the Bundesliga, plus another goal and assist in the Champions League.

With Newcastle desperate for goals after Mike Ashley pushed out the only two goalscorers at the club, Rondon and Perez, it was a bit puzzling for NUFC fans to see so much money paid for a striker whose best ever league season so far had been eight goals in the weak Austrian league when on loan at Rapid Vienna.

Fair to say that on hearing Newcastle had paid £40m / £43m on a single player the fans were stunned as well as encouraged, then on checking out the 22 Brazilian, fair to say they very much wondered why Mike Ashley suddenly had insisted that money was no object in signing Joelinton.

Mike Ashley even then shortly after Joelinton was signed, used the Brazilian as proof (according to Ashley) of how difficult Rafa Benitez had been to work with as a manager.

Ashley saying that Joelinton had been the ‘test’ of Rafa’s suitability for the Newcastle job, how Benitez had refused to give the go ahead to the £43m signing, not very interested in signing him at all and if Newcastle did sign him, insisted they should pay no more than £20m for the Brazilian at the very most.

Mike Ashley related this story to show how daft and unreasonable Rafa Benitez had been, even claiming he’d told Rafa that he (Ashley) personally would pay for most of the £43m transfer fee and that Rafa could still buy Salomon Rondon, even if Joelinton was signed.

Whether you believe anything of what Mike Ashley was claiming is another matter but basically, Newcastle ended up losing Rafa, Rondon and Perez, so Ashley could get his way and sign Joelinton and then Andy Carroll, plus bring in a patsy in the shape of Steve Bruce, who would follow orders and not insist on a say in anything important, such was his desperation to get a job he was in no way qualified for. Hence, Newcastle paid £43m for a striker only six days after Bruce got the job, the club and Steve Bruce laughably claiming the Head Coach had given his ‘agreement’ to the deal. As though he had any say.

Over 16 months on after Steve Bruce and Joelinton arrived, the Brazilian is now 24 and has scored two goals in 46 Premier League appearances (it is also now over 31 months since Andy Carroll last scored a Premier League goal).

As last season went on and Joelinton got ever worse and less effective, Steve Bruce eventually came out and admitted that the Brazilian was not really a centre-forward and not a natural goalscorer.

Quite incredible, when those were the exact two essential qualifications needed for the big signing in summer 2019, especially if paying £43m!

When a manager makes a serious mistake and buys such a £43m dud, it is an ongoing problem until that manager eventually leaves, as he is never going to sell on that player at what is now his true market value. You have to wait until that manager moves on, then a new one comes in and with no fault attached to him for the original purchase, can shift the player for what he is worth and everybody can move on.

A bit of a different situation however, when it is the club owner who has complete ownership of the transfer.

The big question then is, unless Mike Ashley sells Newcastle United, can there ever be any hope of NUFC selling Joelinton?

Whether he simply feels obliged to, or whether under direct orders from Mike Ashley to do so, Steve Bruce has played Joelinton in 46 of the 47 Premier League games so far since they both (Bruce and Joelinton) arrived at Newcastle, mainly from the start (36) and the rest (10) off the bench.

The bottom line is that Joelinton in these 46 PL appearances has managed two goals and two assists, his threat to the opposition goal fading from negligible to non-existent.

There was some marginal improvement when playing the record signing on the left instead of through the middle but this is really grasping at the most minimum of straws.

Quite incredible that Steve Bruce has so far only selected Miguel Almiron (a player Rafa signed…) to start four of the nine Premier League games so far, instead preferring the likes of Joelinton and Jeff Hendrick ahead of the Paraguayan at times. Despite that, Almiron has still created more goalscoring chances (eight) than any other Newcastle player.

Joelinton gives Newcastle next to nothing going forward and that has got worse, not better. Whether a decent manager would have got more out of the 24 year old is a moot point, Mike Ashley is never going to willingly give up his latest patsy, Steve Bruce.

So what is there to do?

Well, Newcastle United are entirely dependent on Callum Wilson to score goals.

It was a total joke giving Andy Carroll another contract, even more so than the first one. Whilst Dwight Gayle is recovering from his latest injury and operation, increasingly injury prone and 10 goals in 55 PL appearances for NUFC is hardly a viable alternative to Callum Wilson.

Last weekend against Chelsea, Steve Bruce played Joelinton as centre-forward and it was woeful. Both the Brazilian’s contribution and the overall tactics and team performance.

Talk of Callum Wilson being risked at Palace tomorrow night but no sign of him in the club training shots yesterday (Wednesday), so surely not even Bruce would take that risk…?

With five weeks until the transfer window opens, numerous reports are saying inside sources have told them that there is no chance of any major signing, unless significant cash is raised from sales.

Well, I would say that Newcastle need to throw everything at getting another proper striker / goalscorer to add to Callum Wilson, to play alongside and instead of when necessary.

I would see if somebody would take on Carroll and his wages, then sell on a few players who aren’t first team regulars and who could raise cash, the likes of Matt Ritchie for example, possibly Dwight Gayle as well.

Then the big one, I think a Bundesliga club would give Joelinton another chance based on the promise he showed in Germany in 2018/19, BUT we are looking at £10m as realistic transfer fee to shift him on. He was £20m at very highest most optimistic valuation 16 months ago and clearly his time at Newcastle will have significantly reduced that.

Let Joelinton and the rest of us move on, add his £10m into the pot and put it towards bringing in another £20m or so striker in January (2021), similar to Callum Wilson in terms of profile. With at least some decent CV in terms of scoring goals.

If Mike Ashley still retains major hopes of selling Newcastle United, he has to ensure there is no chance of relegation. Steve Bruce increases that risk and so it is important we have as many good players on the pitch as possible, especially potential goalscorers, to help mitigate the damage the Head Coach does.

A big call for the NUFC owner but one he needs to make, unless of course he does sack Steve Bruce instead, which would then be a whole different scenario…

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