With Newcastle eyeing up a summer move for Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham, this could be the perfect time for Steve Bruce to wave goodbye to Joelinton.
Reports in recent days have suggested that the Magpies are one of the sides interested in signing Abraham, and a move for the centre-forward would push Joelinton even further to the sidelines amid a really disappointing career at St James’ Park.
While his performances have slightly gone up a notch in recent games, with two goals in his last five, it doesn’t mask the fact that the Brazilian has been terrible value for money – with 76 games played for the Tyneside club, he has a measly nine goals and seven assists.
To put that into context, Joelinton has actually earned more yellow cards for Newcastle than he’s scored (10 to 9).
It’s no surprise then that former Magpie Rob Lee has been very vocal in his criticism of the forward, and speaking exclusively to FFC on a couple of occasions, he let his feelings be known.
He said: “If he came for £5-10 million you’d probably think ‘yeah that’s not bad’, but when you arrive for £40 million and you wear the number nine shirt then the pressure is massively on you and I don’t understand why they paid that amount of money for him.
“He was immense against Aston Villa, probably our best player until he got to the box, and then when he’s in the box, he always makes the wrong decision. When you want him to shoot he passes and when you want him to pass, he shoots, it’s just a conundrum of how you play him.”
He added: “First of all, I want to know who spent £40 million on Joelinton. If it was Steve Nickson, then come out and hold your hands up and say ‘yeah, I sanctioned and put forward that deal’, but I’m sure he won’t.
“Secondly, the club should have made it clear from the beginning that he’s not a centre forward and they could’ve done that by not giving him the number nine shirt.
“The minute he was given the number nine shirt he’s a centre forward. He’s the club’s most expensive signing and with him being a forward player as well as the number nine, people instantly expect him to score 20-25 goals a season.”
In bringing in the £40m-valued Abraham – dubbed a “hell of a talent” by Aston Villa boss Dean Smith – Bruce would have the perfect chance to finally axe Joelinton from his starting line-up, or even just cash in on him completely.
Either way, Joelinton’s days at St James’ Park could well be numbered if Abraham arrives this summer.