The Brazilian has taken up the weighty mantle of being the club’s number nine after his record-breaking move from Hoffenheim this summer, and Douglas feels he has similar qualities to Newcastle’s previous lead man Salomon Rondon – a Benitez favourite.
“What I’ve been really impressed with with Joelinton is his all-round game has been really, really good,” Douglas told The Chronicle’s news and transfer centre [10/09; 13:53]. “We kind of heard that Rafa wasn’t convinced by Joelinton for whatever reason, but I think he’s quite similar to Rondon in that his work rate is phenomenal.
“Defensively he’s really, really good. He’s not quite as strong as Rondon – I don’t think Joelinton’s probably there yet, although he did give some problems to Spurs the other week and he can hold the ball up well.”
Pretty much all of what Douglas says is spot on, here. Joelinton certainly isn’t the bull-like figure that Rondon is, someone capable of bullying and harrying even the very best centre halves. We saw last season that the Venezuelan international gave problems to the world’s finest defender in Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk, and it remains to be seen if Joelinton is capable of doing that – we will find out this Saturday, in fact. Joelinton is probably more mobile than Rondon and he seems to cover a lot more ground than the Dalian Yifang man. As of yet, though, it’s unclear if he will be able to provide the semi-regular stream of goals that Rondon did for Newcastle last time out. There was a lot of talk that Benitez wasn’t convinced about the prospect of spending big money on Joelinton, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he was unsure about the player himself, probably just the fee involved. Let’s just hope that his goal tally will start matching his work rate soon.