Early on in the 2019/20 season, during the Spurs game that we went on to win 0-1, I remember having a conversation with my dad about Joelinton while watching him play.
I remember clearly that our comments regarding Joelinton were about how confident he seemed on the ball, how it seemed to stick to his feet, how he was suffering from not having options around him, yet still able to handle himself against a big Spurs back line. Nowadays, those comments are far away from what my dad says about him…
Joelinton seems to be a great divider amongst the Newcastle fanbase with some declaring that he’s not good enough and others saying he’s unappreciated and not being played to the best of his ability.
I must admit, I feel that I fall somewhere in the middle. I can’t pretend to be someone with extensive knowledge of Joelinton before coming to Newcastle but, like with all players playing under Bruce, I do feel he has something more to show than what we’re currently seeing. I do also wonder what perception of Joelinton would be if he simply was half the price and wasn’t our Number 9?
Part of the reason I feel that there’s something about him isn’t necessarily about how he reportedly played under Nagelsmann because, as I’ve already mentioned, that’s not really within my footballing knowledge (I have a very Newcastle United orientated tunnel vision) but I think this because of Sean Longstaff.
Despite their different playing positions, I feel there’s some strong similarities between the two players. Here’s my reasoning: They’re both in their early twenties, they both have had high prices attributed to them before the 2019/20 season, they both have lost value since the 2019/20 season, both have gone from highly-rated managers to Steve Bruce (a statistically worse manager).
For me, after witnessing Longstaff first-hand playing at a brilliant level, I feel fairly confident saying that his recent performances are down to the organisation and tactics of one man. Because of this, I ask the question: Would Joelinton perform better under a different manager? I believe Sean Longstaff would. I absolutely believe that if you bring in a manager with a clear plan that Longstaff could, with a little bit of TLC, get back to a place where clubs like Manchester United are offering good money for his services. I think Longstaff knows that too which is why I think there’s been movement with his agent recently.
I believe that he knows he’s a good player and that he knows that he has to get away from Steve Bruce. Admittedly, I can’t see a scenario where Joelinton ever commands anything near to the price Newcastle paid for him but that would partly seem to be because he shouldn’t have been bought for the reported price anyway. I do think, however, that there’s the potential for Joelinton to reach a point where he could demand a competitive price and be of more use if played with a clear strategy.