Forty million pounds. That is what Joelinton cost Newcastle United when he was signed last summer to become Newcastle United’s new number nine. I was excited, ecstatic even to see that the club had invested in someone that my be able to bring a lot of talent to the pitch. Instead, I would rather have spent the money on buying Aleksandar Mitrovic back from Fulham, and using the rest to by a couple of younger players on the cheap.
But I don’t make the decisions around here, and thank God for that.
But in all seriousness, since leaving Newcastle United, Aleksandar Mitrovic has been the striker we originally wanted him to be for us. He practically single-handedly led Fulham to promotion, and then went on to score 11 goals in the Premier League. Despite being relegated, he continues to play for Fulham, knocking in goal after goal.
Sure, he’s spent two seasons in the Championship with Fulham, and that’s not exactly where the player thought he would be more than five years ago when he was named as one of the top young talents in Europe.
But his scoring rate has been far better than Joelinton’s, and his passion was always there to see, whether it was good or bad. And that’s what made the divorce even more painful for someone like myself, who is a huge Aleksandar Mitrovic fan.
We like to praise Rafa Benitez, and state that he was the best thing to have happened to this club since Sir Bobby Robson. And don’t get me wrong, Rafa is an all time great, and I think he did the best with Newcastle with what he was given. But I definitely am willing to say that not only did Rafa get it wrong on Aleksandar Mitrovic, but he handled it terribly.
Looking at the talent around the club right now, I would venture to say that we have a better squad now than we did when Rafa was managing the club. And that’s not to Steve Bruce’s credit. I think we got lucky with some deals that Rafa may have been red flagging left and right. It’s been said that Rafa was made aware that he could be given Joelinton, but he never wanted the player to begin with. But just look at our midfield now.
Sean and Matty Longstaff, Miguel Almiron, Allan Saint-Maximin, and now Valentino Lazaro. Throw Aleksandar Mitrovic upfront, and he has the striker mindset to put away the opportunities that would be endlessly afforded to him.
Joelinton’s touches have been off the mark. His goals to chance ratio is abysmal, and the more he plays, the more I wish they’d move him into a winger slot, or just throw Dwight Gayle in because maybe he’d do something.
Don’t mistake my criticism for hatred of Joelinton. I think he’s a fine player, with a lot of ability to be a fantastic one. But striker is not his position, and he wanted to play it. Newcastle has let him have his fun, but it’s time to put on a winning mentality, and not a wait and let’s see if Joe can finally score mentality.
This is shaping up to be a very expensive disaster, when really, I think we let go of someone who could really have made use of the squad that was already being built under Rafa. The system wasn’t fair Mitrovic’s talents, but now, I feel like he’d thrive. It’s a shame we’ll never see it.