Joelinton switch could leave vacant position

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There are no doubts that Steve Bruce will be slightly disappointed with Newcastle United forward Joelinton and his start to life in the Premier League this season.

After his goal against Tottenham, there will have been big hopes that he can use that to push on in the North East. That hasn’t happened, and his winner in North London has remained as his only strike all season.

Add an assist against West Ham United, something that puts him as the leading man in their front three in terms of goal involvements – something that really highlights an area that needs to improve for Newcastle.

Bruce recently admitted that their record-signing was finding it hard to deal with the pressure put on his shoulders from the price tag paid for him.

“We can speak with Joe all the time to try and help him,” he told the Chronicle.

“There’s no disputing that he’s finding it tough at the minute because of what goes with being Newcastle’s centre forward and a big price tag.”

The Magpies’ boss went onto add that his backroom staff and he are looking into possible switches that could help him thrive at St James’ Park, one of those being a change in position.

“In that respect, you can see why half of his career was played to a side in a 4-3-3. When I saw him play live, he played on the left-hand side against Man City in the Champions League.

“You can understand it because half of his career he hasn’t been a natural centre forward so that might give me a bit of food for thought later to play him on the left as well if we’ve got a problem.”

That would create a real problem if Joelinton was to switch onto the left-hand side, with Bruce not really having another forward to fill the possible void left by the centre-forward.

Miguel Almiron has already proved that he is even less-effective centrally than Joelinton is – not finding the back of the net since arriving at the club.

Both Dwight Gayle and Andy Carroll aren’t good enough to lead the line consistently in the Premier League – scoring a combined total of nine goals in the past three seasons.

That would mean that Newcastle would need to bring in another striker in January, with Joelinton’s possible switch leaving a worrying gap in the team.

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