Joelinton has become Newcastle United’s marquee transfer of the summer, and in the process, smashed the club’s previous transfer record of £20 million for Miguel Almiron in January.
The Brazilian forward set Newcastle back £40 million, and whilst the fee may puzzle some, there is certainly much hope for what Joelinton can bring to Tyneside.
Joelinton joined Brazilian club, Sport Recife when he was just 16. He went on to play 12 games, scoring three goals. His big break to Europe came through a move to Hoffenheim, who signed another Brazilian forward in Roberto Firmino, four years prior to Joelinton’s arrival.
In 2016, Joelinton was sent on loan to Austrian club Rapid Wien where he played 60 times in the Austrian Bundesliga in two seasons, scoring 15 goals.
At the start of last season Joelinton returned to his parent club and came back with a bang, scoring a hat-trick in his first match against FC Kaiserslautern in the DFB-Pokal.
He went on to have his most successful season, scoring seven goals in the Bundesliga, and another in the Champions League group stage against Lyon.
Can Joelinton replicate this success in the Premier League with Newcastle? Many who watched The Magpies’ last season will argue that the Brazilian forward will need to better his goal tally if Newcastle are to survive another season in the Premier League.
Crucially, both Salomón Rondón and Ayoze Pérez have moved on to Dalian Yifang and Leicester respectively.
Between them, the pair scored 23 goals in the league – Joelinton will be the main man responsible for scoring these goals next season for Newcastle.
His expected goals (xG) last season from open play was 8.72, although this is 1.72 higher than his final goal tally, it still displays a lack of cutting edge which will be needed at Newcastle.
What may offer greater optimism to Newcastle fans is Joelinton’s hold-up play. New manager, Steve Bruce is likely to retain the same defensive tactics as former manager Rafa Benitez.
This will mean that Newcastle will often play the ball long as their players are held back in their own half.
What is crucial if a team is going to ‘play long’ is that your striker is able to keep the ball alive so the team can push up the pitch.
After Joelinton’s unveiling, Bruce described the striker as ‘big, strong and athletic’. He seems to be a younger mould of Rondón.
Although, this ignores Joelinton’s ability to hold up the ball through his dribbling- he averaged 4.04 dribbles per match last season in the Bundesliga – much higher than Rondon’s 0.6 and Perez’s 1.2.
Furthermore, it seems he has an eye for a pass, creating 0.81 chances per 90 minutes in the Bundesliga.
What may have enticed an ‘old-school’ manager like Steve Bruce further is the closing down and work-rate from the striker.
Pressing from the front is another of Joelinton’s strong points, Bruce recognised this by saying “he’s got an incredible work rate”.
Not only is this likely to make him a fans’ favourite in Tyneside, but it will also prove vital in Newcastle’s bid for survival – in making life difficult for the opposition.
All these qualities show Joelinton as a player who shares traits with both Rondón and Pérez – Newcastle will be hoping he can fill the gap left by the pair.
It remains to be seen whether the Brazilian will be the man who can propel Newcastle up the table next season.
Whilst his dribbling and link up play is admirable; his finishing still leaves much to be desired.
Seeing as he has doubled Newcastle’s previous transfer record, fans will expect the youngster to hit the ground running.
However, Joelinton may need some additional support from Newcastle other attackers (and possibly the reported signing of Allan Saint-Maximin) if the club are to replace the goals and attacking contribution of Rondón and Pérez.