Only at Newcastle United, a club that has had to huff and puff for its frugal owner to dip into his wallet over the years, could we be on the search for an equaliser while our £40m striker is sat twiddling his thumbs on the bench.
Joelinton has not featured in any of our last FOUR games, which coincidentally runs alongside a similar timeline to Bruce’s infamous “doing it my way” press conference.
Has the manager’s patience finally worn thin? Did he even rate him to begin with? Was the weighty price tag around the Brazillian’s neck forcing Bruce to shoehorn him into the side, wherever that may be?
Our most expensive player ever sat and watched on while Bruce brought on not one, but two strikers against Crystal Palace, as we pressed for an equaliser that never came. One of these, Andy Carroll, has bagged just one measly goal in 38 games since his St James’ Park return.
All evidence points towards Bruce struggling to rely on Joelinton when we need to be pulled out of the mud. Our supporters and those in the media clearly can’t either, judging by the little to no attention that has been made of his recent absence from the side.
And who can blame them? The Brazilian himself has been woeful since arriving from Hoffenheim more than 18 months ago. His goal record stands at 7 in 65 games, hardly ground-breaking form that makes him worthy of donning the famous number nine shirt.
To be fair to him, his confidence has snowballed downhill ever since being asked to play up front by himself in a depressing 5-4-1 system. A minority of Toon fans are even partisan in their defence of Joelinton, insisting that he has never played in his correct position since he arrived.
Could he make a drastic improvement now we are starting to show more enthusiasm in front of goal? Absolutely. In our past two games, Miguel Almiron has been deployed at the top of a diamond behind Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson. If Joelinton manages to work his way back into contention, he could be asked to fill the void of either Almiron or Fraser and help supply the line to Wilson in front of goal. If his opportunity arises, he MUST take it with both hands.
However, at the moment things look difficult for him. Fans are clamouring for the full return of Allan Saint-Maximin and appear to have forgotten somewhat about our £40m man. The only person who can get Joelinton out of this mess is Joelinton himself, and with Bruce seemingly sceptical to turn to him in a time of need, he is going to get no more favours from his manager.
The fight to save his Newcastle career is on between now and the end of the season. While things look pretty grim for him at present, the wacky world that is NUFC could soon spring a surprise on us yet.