Date: 9th January 2020 at 6:00am
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According to George Caulkin while speaking on the Athletic’s Pod on the Tyne podcast released yesterday, Newcastle United scouted Joelinton up to 24 times before making a club-record move to sign him over the course of the summer. 

Obviously, the Brazilian has invoked the ire of fans on social media following a poor performance against Rochdale, with former Magpie Michael Chopra describing him as the ‘worst’ No.9 in the club’s history.

Scoring just once this season, the 23-year-old is also averaging his lowest ever recorded shot per game total (1.5, per WhoScored), further demonstrating his lack of goalscoring form.

While speaking on the podcast, Caulkin also suggested that those behind the scenes at St. James’ Park may not have thought Ayoze Perez would depart over the course of the summer. Indeed, the Spaniard was a major part of the Toon’s attack last season, top-scoring with 12 goals in the Premier League, though left for Leicester City in a £30m deal following the departure of Rafa Benitez.

How does this reflect on Newcastle?

Pretty badly, to be honest.

While the fact they reportedly went to watch the player so often before his move makes sense given the sort of money involved, they would also have surely seen Hoffenheim deploy him in positions other than that of a central striker. According to Transfermarkt’s positional data, the South American appeared in a supporting role 7 times during his reasonably short stint in Germany, yet has been thrown in as the Magpies’ main forward this season with little experience.

Perez, meanwhile, had been making noises as far back as March 2019 about leaving Tyneside, so to nail hopes down on him staying – especially considering the fact there was a managerial change – seems odd. After all, he’s even said to have had a buy-out clause, so to leave themselves open to losing both him and Salomon Rondon in the same summer and then replacing them with a player who hasn’t reached double figures or always played as a centre-forward in Europe looks like bad business.

Verdict

This speaks to a strange policy behind the scenes. Indeed, Rafa Benitez is reported to have not wanted the club to sign Joelinton in the first place and it’s unclear as to who is making the decisions, with Caulkin also suggesting the club had the deal lined up for a long time while on that podcast.

Can Joelinton save his Newcastle career? Join the discussion by commenting below…