While he rates him highly, he warns Newcastle fans that he is ‘not the finished product at all’, suggesting we must be patient with the 22-year-old ahead of the new 2019/20 season.
Here’s what he had to say when we asked for his honest assessment of our new £40m man:
“He’s quick, can dribble with the ball fairly well and he has a mean shot in him.
“He contributes in the build-up quite well and can play as a striker, an attacking midfielder and maybe on the wing.
“His profile gets compared to Firmino as they do much of the same work, but their styles are still quite different.“
“He is still quite unproven, and not the finished product at all.
“It might take time for him to flourish in PL. Not sure how well he’ll suit going from Nagelsmann to Steve Bruce’s style of play.
“He might need time, and it’s also dependant on his team mates and style of play. I think he will hit 8-12 goals in PL, but that is guesswork from me.
“Nahelsmann (Hoffenheim’s former manager) liked him, and so did his team mates. Is he a hard-worker who gives 110%? He doesnt have the work rate of someone like Firmino for example, but I would say his work rate is very good.
“Seeing as he’s not the finished product there’s definitely a risk. I’ve been vocal about the fee and said that Hoffenheim got a very good price for him (£40m) after just one good year in the Bundesliga, but £40m is worth far less for Newcastle than it is for Hoffenheim, so it could potentially be a good deal for all parties.
“Physically he’ll be fine in Premier League. Mentally I don’t know, but I’m sure he’ll do fine if 1) he’s given time to adapt, 2) he suits Steve Bruce’s philosophy, and 3) he has adequate players around him.“
An intriguing assessment.
It seems he’s clearly got talent, but I get the feeling we’ve bought huge potential here and by no means the finished product.
I’m excited to see how he gets on, but also cautious of the fact he’s still only had one good season in one of Europe’s top leagues to date, combined with the fact our play under Steve Bruce may not be nearly as free flowing and expansive as he was used to during his time under Nagelsmann at Hoffenheim.
Let’s hope he settles in, starts well and delivers the good – although the clear message here seems to be ‘he’s good, but don’t expect too much too soon’.