Newcastle United confirmed the club-record signing of Joelinton from Hoffenheim on Tuesday.
Having seen Joselu, Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon head out the exit door already since the 2018/19 campaign ended, the Tyneside outfit are lacking options up front beyond Yoshinori Muto and Dwight Gayle, neither of whom are proven marksmen in the Premier League – the pair have one goal in 17 appearances and 21 in 99, respectively.
The signing of 22-year-old Joelinton has, first and foremost, provide some much needed depth at centre-forward, although Bruce will no doubt be hoping that the former Sport Recife striker can lead the line for much of if not the entire season – his 11 goals and nine assists in Germany last term suggest that he can be a success in another of Europe’s top-five leagues.
What then, besides goals, can the Toon Army expect from the 6 foot 1 star?
Sure, tackling ability is rarely talked about when it comes to number nine’s but Joelinton’s stats in this department suggest that he’ll be just as much of a menace out of possession as he will be in it.
The right-footer completed 1.3 tackles per game last season and his willingness to press high up the pitch will undoubtedly endear him to the Newcastle faithful who, after a stressful summer, will surely be looking to see a bit of passion from the players.
Not only will this make him a huge hit at St James’ Park, but the Alianca-born hitman’s dispossession of defenders could also lead to plenty of chances for both he and his teammates.
Players such as Roberto Firmino and Shane Long, while very different, go beyond the call of duty as a striker.
Newcastle fans can expect a similar level of effort from Joelinton.
Unlike the recently-departed Rondon, whose main appeal was his physical presence up top, Joelinton is more than just a flat-track bully, completing an impressive 1.5 key passes per game for Die Krauchgeier last term – comparatively, Venezuelan Rondon managed 1 per game.
While WhoScored suggests that the forward likes to shoot from distance, Joelinton is far from selfish and the frequency at which he creates opportunities for a teammate to score will get far better out of Almiron, who failed to score in nine appearances for the Magpies following his mid-season move from Atlanta United.
The speedy Paraguayan took 1.9 shots per game last term and this figure will likely rise once he starts linking up with Joelinton.
The video below highlights just how mad Newcastle were to let Ayoze Perez go…
Perhaps the most surprising of the player’s stats from the 2018/19 campaign, Joelinton completes an impressive 1.7 dribbles per game – more than Almiron (0.7) and Christian Atsu (0.9) managed between them last term, according to WhoScored – illuminating yet another dimension to this star’s game.
This is where he really sets himself apart from strikers of a similar physical mould, who hasten to run with the ball and would instead prefer to shield it before offloading it to a quicker, more technical teammate.
Joelinton’s ability to spearhead a counter-attack either facing or with his back to goal will make Newcastle a much more fluid unit going forward – the Brazilian is highly unpredictable and he’s sure to ruin plenty of defenders’ afternoons in the top-flight this season.