When Newcastle United signed Joelinton from Hoffenheim for a club record deal, there was a lot of expectation and pressure on the shoulders of the striker even before kicking a ball for his new club.
Joelinton has provided one goal and one assist during his brief time on Tyneside. The Brazilian has struggled for the most part, the striker has cut a frustrated figure at the top end of the pitch, finding himself extremely isolated.
Speaking to Bundesliga expert, Ronan Murphy – he believes a change in system for Newcastle might just get the best out of the striker.
“To get the best out of Joelinton, he probably would have to play as part of a two-man frontline. Alone, he lacks support and too much is expected from him. He was never going to be a target man centre-forward and provide all the goals, so that is definitely frustrating him as Newcastle seem to expect him to fulfil a role he’s not suited to.”
Like many players in the game, Joelinton is a confidence player – A run of goals might just be what the Brazilian needs to kick start his career at Newcastle.
“In Germany, Joelinton didn’t look like the finished product and starred in spurts but was not dominant on a week-to-week basis. He seems a confidence player, so a good run of games or a goal or two should help his morale and that might be all it takes to get the best from him.”
Steve Bruce has played Joelinton up front on his own, with support from Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron. Though, both players have been too far away from the striker to help link Newcastle’s attack.
Speaking about the partnership between Joelinton, Saint-Maximin and Almiron, Ronan Murphy feels it might not quite click into place.
“I’m not sure it will eventually work. Joelinton possibly doesn’t have the right attributes to be a lone frontman and the Newcastle trio are all pacey, technical players but lack end product. That was Joelinton’s biggest flaw in Germany, he’d do so many things brilliantly, but then wasn’t sharp enough in front of goal.”
Due to their similar paths in football Joelinton has been compared to fellow Brazilian and Liverpool star, Roberto Firmino. Murphy believes the comparisons between the two are somewhat farfetched.
“The Firmino comparisons were never properly realistic, but were just down to simple connections – Brazilian playing for Hoffenheim moving to England. His game isn’t really like Firmino’s, who is a brilliant hold-up player and brings other players into the game, whereas Joelinton can use his pace to break defensive lines – back-to-goal vs a front-to-goal type of players.”
During his time in Germany, Joelinton was used to paying in a different system. A system that suited the Brazilian a lot better than the one he’s playing in under Bruce at Newcastle.
“At Hoffenheim, he usually played as part of an attacking trio with Ishak Belfodil partnering him in attack and Andrej Kramaric in behind, either in a 4-3-1-2 or 3-4-1-2, which meant he had a lot of support – something which may be lacking at Newcastle.”
It is far too early to judge Joelinton, as previous players have shown – it is very hard for some foreign players to adapt to the Premier League, it takes time and Joelinton will be afforded that time.
Joelinton needs more support, that is abundantly clear. Bruce should look at tweaking the system in order to play to Joelinton’s strengths.
The striker is still very young and has plenty of time to find his feet in the Premier League. Bruce and Newcastle will hope that the striker can add to his account against Bournemouth at St James’ Park, a win for the club will pull the club further away from danger in the Premier League.
Graeme Bell @Graeme_nufc