Magpies fans should be optimistic regarding Joelinton

Newcastle United

Newcastle's club-record signing Joelinton made his Premier League debut on Sunday and there is reason for supporters to be optimistic.

There was nothing short of gloom surrounding St James’ Park following the departure of popular manager Rafael Benitez during the summer, while last season’s leading goalscorers Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez have also moved on to pastures new.

That meant signing a new striker was a must for new boss Steve Bruce, with owner Mike Ashley uncharacteristically opening his cheque book to authorise the club-record arrival of Brazilian forward Joelinton for a reported £40million from Bundesliga club Hoffenheim.

Most Newcastle supporters would be forgiven for never having heard of the 22-year-old, whose best goalscoring tally in a single season stands at a modest eight, but he has been signed for what he can potentially do rather than what he has done in the past.

The former Rapid Vienna loanee showed glimpses of his potential during pre-season and was the only summer signing to start Newcastle’s opening match of the new Premier League season against Arsenal at St James’ Park on Sunday.

On paper, it was a rather low-key competitive debut for Joelinton, who was limited to half-chances, but there was certainly enough in his performance to suggest he can go on to prove a success and become a fans’ favourite.

His ability to hold the ball up and bring others into play was particularly impressive and he showed he was not afraid to mix it with the Arsenal centre-backs.

There were also signs Joelinton could prove a good foil for pacy widemen like Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin, who enjoyed his own impressive debut from the bench.

Bruce was pleased by the performance of his new number nine and feels there is plenty more to come from him.

“I’m quietly convinced he (Joelinton) will do very well,” Bruce told reporters after Sunday’s game.

It may be a while before Newcastle supporters see the best from Joelinton, and he may not be the 20-goal-a-season striker they have been craving since the retirement of Alan Shearer, but he certainly has the potential to be an all-round forward that gets the best out of his team-mates.

It would be no surprise to see Newcastle cashing in on the Brazilian in a few years’ time for considerably more than they paid for him. Even if he isn’t quite showing it yet, he does seem to have all the attributes to become a top-six player.