‘He has the foundations to succeed’ – The view from Germany on imminent Newcastle signing Joelinton

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Newcastle are expected to announce the signing of Hoffenheim forward Joelinton this week.

The 22-year-old is expected to join the Magpies for a club record transfer fee and will lead the line for Steve Bruce in the Premier League this term.

Newcastle are in the market for new forwards this summer following the departures of Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon, and free agents Andy Carroll and Danny Welbeck have been linked in recent days.

But it is the deal for Joelinton that is furthest advanced and he is a player United have tracked for some time.

But what sort of player is he? How does he compare to Salomon Rondon? What can fans expect from him this summer.

Freelance journalist Kaustubh Pandey has tracked Joelinton’s progress closely and has written extensively about the forward for Get German Football News.

Chronicle Live spoke to Kaustubh to get the lowdown on their potential new number nine.

 

What sort of player is he? What can Newcastle fans expect if he was to join up this summer?

Joelinton is quick and likes to get on the ball more than playing off it. He might not be as strong as the man he’d replace – Salomon Rondon – but he can do good in the air and his physical abilities allow him to do that.

Instead of staying up front all the time, Joelinton likes to come deeper to receive the ball and get involved in the play and link-up with his teammates.

He doesn’t score as many goals as a typical target-man might score, but he is more than just about the goals. He has that South American passion boiling inside him.

He might take a while to adjust to the way Steve Bruce will want him to play, but he has the foundations to succeed, in terms of the skill-set he has.



Obvious comparisons will be made to Salomon Rondon. How do they compare? How do they differ?

As I said, Rondon is bigger and stronger than Joelinton but it doesn’t mean the Brazilian can’t do the job that the Venezuelan did for Newcastle.

Joelinton held up the ball well in the Bundesliga and was good aerially even though it isn’t the best part of his arsenal. Like Rondon, Joelinton loves a confrontation and a battle.

He is better on the ball than Rondon and loves to take on defenders when he’s on it. The most common thing between the two is that they have an eye for goal.


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At Hoffenheim, Joelinton has played in a 3-4-3 or a 3-5-2 system. In Steve Bruce’s first game in charge, Newcastle lined up in a 3-5-2 system against West Ham in the Premier League Asia Trophy. Is that the system which will get the best out of Joelinton? Can he play in a 4-5-1 if required?

He thrives on having team-mates closer to him than being the sole man forward. The way Newcastle played under Rafa Benitez saw Rondon sometimes be the sole man upfront and be isolated up there multiple times. Joelinton would be better off playing with another striker than being the only one up there in a 4-5-1.

He likes to interchange positions and passes with those around him and playing as the only one forward will not allow him to do that. He can easily play as a second striker in a 3-5-2 shape like he did with Adam Szalai under Julian Nagelsmann. But as I said, he has the ability to grow into that player because he will only improve.

What has most impressed you about Joelinton in the Bundesliga?

He likes to work his socks off. He is a willing performer and a willing runner who likes to do whatever it takes to help the team score and create.

He is tall but defies the logic that tall strikers are only good at heading the ball and scoring. It is a stereotype that Joelinton breaks, much like Sebastien Haller, even though the Frenchman is a better player than him.



What does he still need to work on?

He isn’t as intelligent as his compatriot Roberto Firmino and while he can make do without it, it would be good to not expect too much from him in the first 5-6 games in the Premier League.

The system that he is expected to play in will not be favoring him but he will grow into it gradually. He will need to develop his aerial abilities as Newcastle are used to having Rondon upfront and to match that ability, he needs to play in that role more often. Newcastle will allow that.

How versatile is Joelinton? Could he be utilised in other positions as well?

Yes, he is someone who can play behind the striker and often takes up positions on the left and on the right whenever he does that. He also does that whenever he plays as a striker. He likes to roam about the final third in a fluid system.



He will arrive with a huge price tag on his head. Does he have the character for a potential relegation battle? In your view, is he ready for the rigours of the Premier League?

As much as I like the player, it would be fair to allow him the time to adjust because he has all the makings of being a Premier League player soon.

I’m not saying that he will fail in the first few games because he can score goals even though he isn’t a prolific scorer of them. He has the fight and the fire in his belly to make an impact – just what the Magpies love in their players.

The German lifestyle is similar to that of England and that will work in his favour, while he has two fellow South Americans in Federico Fernandez and Miguel Almiron there with him.

 





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