With the massive fees being tossed around for players in this era of football, the need for said players to hit the ground running at their new clubs is tremendous. If, for any reason, a new signing does not hit the ground running, questions of whether or not signing him was a mistake immediately arise, and the task of getting acclimated gets even harder for the player.
In addition to performances on the pitch, two subtle variables that affect how a new signing will be received is the person responsible for the signing and the circumstances leading to the signing.
It is now abundantly clear that one of the main sticking points between Rafa Benitez and Mike Ashley was the transfer policy. Rafa Benitez wanted to re-sign Salomon Rondon, while Mike Ashley refused to shell out money for a player at the age of 29 even if he was instrumental to the team’s success last season. Mike Ashley obviously preferred Joelinton, and three months later, he is wearing the black and white stripes.
After today’s match against Norwich, fans were especially critical of Joelinton, launching all types of verbal abuse his way. The reality of the situation is that much of this anger towards him is simply misplaced aggression. Since Ashley’s preference for Joelinton is one of the reasons Rafa Benitez and Rondon are at Dalian Yifang instead of NUFC, Joelinton is taking the brunt of the blame. The person that most fans are truly upset with is Mike Ashley; all Joelinton himself has done is come in and try to help this team.
Another, more obvious reason that Joelinton should not be judged yet is the system that he is currently playing in. It may be a 3-5-2, but it is utterly shambolic. In this system, Joelinton is one of two true attackers on the pitch at a given time. The system relies on the wing-backs and central midfielders to serve as extra attackers. Sure, both the wing-backs and central midfielders are capable of getting forward, but neither are especially adept in attack.
In the end, Joelinton and Almiron were especially isolated, chasing lost causes for much of the game. When Joelinton had a good chance to score around the 26th minute mark, he missed, and that is totally understandable. When the team carries such little threat and looks so out of sync going forward, chances such as the one he had are entirely unexpected. Up to that point, Newcastle had about 22% possession and looked totally incapable of mustering a meaningful attack. A great striker would have put that chance away, but failing to do so doesn’t make Joelinton bad by any means. He, as most would be, was caught off guard.
Anyways, as the struggles likely continue for this Newcastle, recognize that there is a lot of blame to be passed around before it can fall on the players’ shoulders. On the pitch, Joelinton is hindered by Steve Bruce’s broken tactics, and off the pitch, Joelinton is definitively tied to Mike Ashley and the circumstances surrounding Rafa Benitez’s departure.