Recently appointed Newcastle manager Steve Bruce has made his first signing for the Magpies. They signed the 22-year-old Brazilian forward Joelinton, who has arrived on Tyneside for a club record £40 million from German side Hoffenheim.
Owner Mike Ashley is not a popular figure with the Toon faithful, but they cannot argue that he hasn’t put his money where his mouth is this time. The young striker has penned a whopping six-year deal, which, depending on how he adapts to life in England, will either prove a masterstroke or a disaster.
Ultimately, time will tell but it’s worth noting the deal has been in the pipeline for a number of months with Bruce’s predecessor, Rafa Benitez, unconvinced given the sums of money involved. The new gaffer though has insisted that he approves of the transfer and confirmed that he even had one of his staff watch Joelinton earlier in the year.
There is no doubting that the Magpies are in need of attacking players following the loss of Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon, who has since joined ex-boss Benitez at Chinese club Dalian Yifang. That pairing yielded 23 goals in the league campaign last year, which was over fifty percent of the teams ‘goals for’ column and it remains to be seen if Joelinton can fill that void.
Joelinton, who will wear the famous number nine shirt, scored 11 goals last term from 35 games – seven in 28 in the Bundesliga – and contributed nine assists across all competitions. During the two seasons prior to last, he was on loan at Austrian side Rapid Vienna where he netted 21 goals in 79 appearances – albeit in one of the stronger sides in the division.
A strike rate of one in four is not to be sniffed at, especially given his physicality and link-up play will create opportunities for teammates as well, but if he doesn’t double his output then Bruce’s men will still be some way short of where they need to be; although there is still two weeks of the transfer window to run so more reinforcements could arrive.
Could Newcastle have found better value for money elsewhere? In a word, yes, especially when you see players like Nabil Fekir moving for less than half of the Joelinton outlay but it could also prove a bargain in the long run. Remember the £100m price tag Everton reportedly slapped on fellow Brazilian Richarlison’s head when Manchester United showed an interest?
Bruce will likely be looking to bring in another striker to lighten the load on his prize asset anyway but that would likely be a cheaper backup option. A free transfer for local lad Andy Carroll has been mentioned, whilst Fernando Llorente, who is still available after leaving Tottenham, could definitely do a job.
Regardless, the new boy isn’t phased by the pressure he’ll be under and if his performances on the pitch mirror his first set of public comments then the Geordies will warm to him very quickly. Joelinton has already spoken to the fan base by stating their ‘affection made me really happy and I hope to give back to them on the pitch’ and has promised ‘there will be no shortage of desire and dedication to score lots of goals’.
Everyone connected with the club will hope he can deliver on that intent, preferably with Miguel Almiron, who is now the second most expensive signing in the club’s history after his £20m move in January, providing the assists.
If those two can find some rapport then Bruce will have a much better chance of proving his doubters wrong by keeping his beloved Newcastle in the Premier League. On the other hand, if Joelinton doesn’t notch the goals to keep them up, it’s a big contract to fund from the Championship.