In 2019, Newcastle United made an after-tax profit of £34.7m. That’s despite spending £40m on Joelinton. Imagine what else could have been done with that money. For roughly half of that Newcastle could have signed Danny Ings (in July 2019, he signed for Southampton for a reported £18m), for example.
There are several mind-boggling elements to the Joelinton transfer, but perhaps the worst part might be yet to come. In all Newcastle have made a £60m commitment to Joelinton.
Let’s talk briefly about Joe’s career up to the point that he signed for Newcastle. He arrived in Germany back in 2015, signing for Hoffenheim. He only played 29 games for them however, scoring 7 goals. He spent two season out on loan in Austria, scoring 15 goals in 60 appearances for Rapid Wien.
Now, I don’t know that much about Austrian football, nor the strength of that league, but what I can say is that 15 goals over 60 league appearances isn’t exactly the kind of the stuff of fantasy. That’s not a record that screams £40m Premier League superstar.
To be fair, he’s mostly played as part of an attacking three-man strike force, and yes, often he wasn’t the middle prong of that line – but still, it is what it is. Now, he’s still young, and he was very young when he arrived in Germany. He’s had to adjust to a different league, style of play and so on, but there’s not a fan alive today who could convince me that Joelinton has been anything other than a total disaster.
He’s probably a candidate (even after one season) for the worst signing in Newcastle’s history. I know that’s saying a lot, but let’s think this through a little.
Firstly, someone scouted Joelinton for more than year. That means they watched him in the Austrian league, and then in the 2018-19 season in the Bundesliga. The German top tier is rugged, it’s demanding and competitive – but it’s not the Premier League. Newcastle scouts spent hours watching this lad play, and still didn’t fully recognise his inabilities. That’s deeply concerning. I mean, imagine doing a project at work and being this badly wrong.
What’s worse (putting conspiracy theories aside for now) is that someone convinced Mike Ashley to spend £40m on one player. Think about that for a minute. Ashley is world known for being one of the tightest, most stubborn and ruthless business men around, and we’ve been begging for him to spend that amount in an entire season, let alone on one totally unproven player.
The break from the norm is just amazing. It’s totally unlike Ashley to be taken for a ride like this. I don’t know if it was Steve Nickson, but if it was, then he’s in the wrong line of business – he should be in sales.
Beyond the huge scouting errors that took place, there’s the money. Not only did Newcastle pay a reported $40m for Big Joe, he also signed a six year contract. Ashley likes these long contracts (except when signing academy prospects, apparently!?), because it gives Newcastle greater leverage when it comes to resale value, but in this case it’s going to be a massive anchor over any further signings. Joelinton’s contract alone is worth a new player every season. Doing some simple maths using is reported wages of £70k a week shows that over the six years Joelinton will cost Newcastle roughly £21m.
£21m to pay a player that has already proven to me that he’s not good enough to play in the Premier League, let alone be our No.9. At least we don’t need to worry about how much his goal bonus is going to cost us.
Is it too soon to cut bait and move on? Perhaps. I think we’ve seen evidence of players that take a little longer to settle than others, especially so young and moving to a new country. I’ll give him that. 2020 has been a year to forget for so many reason already, and given the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve all it had it tough.
But nothing will change the fact that he’s now played an entire Premier League season and only scored twice in 38 appearances.
Rarely does someone play in every game of the season and have such little impact. In all likelihood though Newcastle will never recoup anywhere near the money that’s been spent on Joelinton, and we all know that making a profit is part of the thinking in every Ashley transfer from Almiron to ASM to Joelinton. I think in reality Newcastle would snap your hand off for half the £40m they spent to get him.
My fear is that the worst might be yet to come. My fear is that this experience might have been such a harsh lesson for Ashley that he might not ever sanction a transfer like this again. He might never want to be put in this situation where he’s spent £40m on a player who’ll most likely end up simply being a dead weight on the team, and the club for more than half a decade.
Newcastle desperately need a striker this summer. They have to keep trying to find the right man to lead the line. They’ve been looking for so long to find a striker that fits the needs of the team, but also the model that Ashley wants.
I’ve no idea why they thought Joelinton would fit that criteria, but boy where they wrong.
Adam Beckett (@AdamBeckett09)