Joelinton to Newcastle: Can he be Magpies' next star striker?

Newcastle have signed striker Joelinton for a club-record fee

Joelinton for Hoffenheim

The Magpies have made their first signing of the summer, bringing in the Brazilian on a six-year deal for a reported £40m fee as Steve Bruce looks to build a squad for the new Premier League season.

But who is Joelinton and does he have what it takes to succeed on Tyneside? We take a look...

From Brazil to Germany, via Austria

Joelinton spent his early career in his native Brazil, coming through the youth ranks at Sport Recife before making 39 first-team appearances across the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

He caught the eye of the Hoffenheim scouts and in June 2015 - at the age of 18 - signed a five-year deal with the German club. However, he made just one appearance in his first season and the following summer, signed a two-year loan deal with Rapid Vienna.

Joelinton impressed while on loan at Rapid Vienna
Image: Joelinton impressed while on loan at Rapid Vienna

It was there that he began to find his feet in Europe, making 48 appearances across all competitions during his first season. He played in all 10 of Rapid Vienna's Europa League games, scoring twice and netting 11 goals domestically, including a winner in the Austrian Cup semi-final against LASK Linz to send Rapid to their first cup final in 12 years.

The club missed out on European football in the 2017/18 season, but despite playing six fewer games in the Austrian Football Bundesliga (27), Joelinton scored just one less goal in the league campaign (7).

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While he may not have broken double figures for Rapid Vienna, his former team-mate, Steffen Hofmann, pointed out the many other qualities Joelinton provided for the team.

Newcastle United's Yoshinori Muto (C) celebrates his goal against West Ham during their match for the third place at the 2019 Premier League Asia Trophy football tournament at the Hongkou Stadium in Shanghai, on July 20, 2019. (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP) (Photo credit should read HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images) 2:15
Highlights of the Premier League Asia Trophy match between Newcastle and West Ham

He said: "We all knew about his potential at Rapid. He worked so hard for the team. Some said he didn't score enough goals, but for us it was more important to have him in attack, holding the ball up, creating chances. He's as strong as an ox and very good technically. If he keeps going as he is, he'll be playing for Brazil before long."

His success in Austria saw Hoffenheim keep him at the club for the 2018/19 season, and he repaid their faith with a hat-trick on his first start for the club during a DFB-Pokal first-round match.

Joelinton went on to make 27 Bundesliga appearances last term - missing five games towards the end of the season through injury - and scored seven goals, and with another five games in the Champions League.

Joelinton scored seven league goals for Hoffenheim last season and featured in the Premier League
Image: Joelinton scored seven league goals for Hoffenheim last season and featured in the Premier League

Perhaps his most notable goal last term came in Europe too as he scored a 92nd-minute equaliser against Lyon in the group stages to steal a 3-3 draw for Hoffenheim.

Next for Selecao?

Joelinton is yet to be called up to the senior Brazil side but made four appearances for the U17 team with two goals and he has a fellow countryman with a similar path to his own as inspiration - Roberto Firmino.

He told German publication Kicker earlier this year: "Of course, it's a big dream to play in the Selecao, maybe I'll get a chance someday. I get the feeling that I'm slowly coming to their attention now.

Roberto Firmino came off the bench to score in Brazil's 7-0 thrashing of Honduras
Image: Roberto Firmino also played for Hoffenheim before moving to the Premier League

"I hadn't played in Brazil for too long before I moved to Europe and football in Austria isn't so well regarded. But now they see that there's a striker in one of the strongest European leagues who regularly plays and scores.

"Firmino's a great character and a role model for many. I text him about football from time to time and we congratulate each other on our goals."

Will he fit at Newcastle?

There was a huge gap in attack for Newcastle and Joelinton will not just 'fit' at St James' Park, he was - realistically - desperately needed.

Ayoze Perez, Joselu and Salomon Rondon have all left the club, with Dwight Gayle's status now up to the discretion of Bruce after he spent last season on loan at West Brom.

Alongside Gayle and Joelinton, Yoshinori Muto is the only other recognised forward currently in the first-team squad, although he only made five Premier League starts last season.

Although Rondon scored more league goals than Joelinton last season (11), he did play in five more games (32), with the pair level on seven assists each, demonstrating the Brazilian's ability to be a provider as well as a goalscorer.

He becomes a versatile addition too, sometimes deployed in wider roles or behind the main striker last season, as well as being the main forward himself.

Newcastle have a rich history of talented strikers - Alan Shearer, Andy Cole and Les Ferdinand to name just a few - and it is time they found another name to fill those big shoes up front, starting with giving Joelinton the No 9 shirt.

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