Football Features

Joelinton to Newcastle Utd: A new contender for the best forward outside the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’?

By Ollie Thomas

Published: 18:22, 19 July 2019

If Newcastle United are going to be competitive next season, it’s clear they need to splash the cash this summer.

Following the high profile departure of Rafa Benitez, Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon the Magpies find themselves significantly weaker than they were at the end of last season. Benitez may have been replaced but, as things stand, Newcastle have just two first-team strikers on their books: Dwight Gayle (who spent last season on loan at West Brom and seems destined to leave) and Yoshinori Muto (who scored just a single goal last season).

However, in Joelinton, they may have found a fantastic third. The 22-year-old is reportedly about to become Newcastle’s record signing, as Hoffenheim confirmed on Twitter earlier this week that he’s in talks with a Premier League club.

Boss Alfred Schreuder confirmed this too, telling Kicker: “Of course it is a pity that he’s leaving. It’s not my decision, that’s what the club does.

“It’s always the same in football: when players leave, it also opens up room for other players, and of course it’s a shame he’s leaving, but it’s also a matter of philosophy.”

He may have only been playing regular first-team football for three seasons, but Joelinton has already proved that he has real pedigree, having already scored in the Europa League and Champions League. Tipped to be one of Europe’s top marksmen in the future, we compared him to some of the other strikers outside the Premier League’s top six to see whether he can compete with the best.

Goals, goals, goals

Everyone knows that in order to reach the top as a number nine, you need to find the back of the net regularly. Whilst being far from prolific in the league with seven goals, Joelinton’s total of 11 in all competitions is just one less than Rondon managed for Newcastle last season.

The Brazilian has never scored more than eight league goals in a single season and was going at a rate of a goal every four games in the Bundesliga last year. However, the goals he did score were often important: he bagged a brace away at Bayer Leverkusen in a 4-1 win and scored Hoffenheim’s goal in a gritty 1-1 draw at Dortmund.

The stats may suggest that Joelinton has some catching up to do with the other target men outside the top six, but time is on his side. Besides, with the exception of the outstanding Jimenez, the others are all seasoned Premier League strikers. They all needed time to adjust, and Joelinton will be no different.

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Let’s delve a little deeper into Joelinton’s shooting. Whilst his goal tally may have slightly concerned the Toon Army, the numbers behind the goals are certainly more promising.

He is pretty much in the middle for shot accuracy, conversion rate and big chances scored/missed: in fact, his accuracy (53.33%) and conversion rate (12.5%) is better than Rondon’s. Whilst his numbers do not match up to the elite levels that players such as Vardy’s boast, they are far from unimpressive.

However, his big chances scored/missed ratio is the worst of the six: albeit, only just. As these numbers show, having a 1:1 ratio is about par for a good Premier League striker, and Joelinton is not far off that at all. It goes without saying that, with time, these numbers will improve. He is, after all, still very young.

Link-up play

Gone are the days where a striker’s job was to simply score goals. Particularly in England, a striker needs to be able to create not just for himself, but for others as well.

Despite being an inch taller than Rondon, Joelinton’s playing style is often compared to Roberto Firmino; besides, he was the man that Hoffenheim signed to replace the Liverpool ‘false nine’. Often deployed on both wings and behind the no.9, Joelinton is excellent as a creator. His numbers back this up. He got seven assists in all competitions last season and only Ayoze Perez created more chances than him out of our choice of strikers.

He also boasts an impressive passing accuracy that most midfielders would be proud of. Whilst not being especially prolific, Joelinton will likely offer Newcastle what he does in goals in assists as well. In a lot of ways, Joelinton has the ability to effectively replace Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon in one. Whether he can live up to the billing is another matter. One thing is for sure: Newcastle fans should be excited.