The Venezuelan enjoyed a fruitful campaign on Tyneside last year, hitting 12 goals in all competitions during a loan spell from West Brom, and Wraith has suggested that his absence has been a “frustrating” issue for the Toon Army.
Speaking on Love Sport Radio, he said: “It’s very frustrating now because obviously last season we had two people who could at least guarantee you double figures, 10 goals each, in Perez and Rondon.
“One of the biggest bones of contention with the supporters up here, obviously losing Rafa was always going to go down like the proverbial lead balloon, but to lose Rondon, who was only £16 million and wanted to stay at the club.
“Why risk £40 million on Joelinton? It was always going to be a struggle.”
Losing Rondon was, as Wraith points out, a massive blow to the Magpies, and it’s one that they haven’t really managed to get over as of yet. Joelinton was brought in for a club record fee, but one goal in nine Premier League appearances has hardly been enough to get pulses racing on Tyneside. Aside from his added goal threat, Rondon also managed seven assists, more shots per game, the same amount of key passes, and only slightly fewer successful dribbles, as per Whoscored. The Venezuelan also registered a match rating of 7.05, compared to Joelinton’s 6.54. In fairness to the Brazilian, these are still early days, and there’s a good chance that he could still come good, but at the moment, he looks like a very expensive gamble that has yet to come off.