In 2015, Newcastle United signed a young striker with hopes of him leading the line for years to come.
Aleksandar Mitrovic arrived from Anderlecht for £13million, but was unable to reach his potential at St James’ Park.
In 2019, Newcastle tried again, bringing in Joelinton for an even bigger fee of £40million.
The Brazilian has scored three times so far since joining the Magpies, but has received a lot of criticism from fans for some severely below par performances.
The 23-year-old has a lot of pressure on his shoulders. He’s the club’s record and signing and dons the famous number nine shirt.
And former Newcastle boss Steve McClaren has compared the two strikers, having been in charge when Mitrovic arrived.
“We signed him and he was a young player and we wanted him as the number two. Unfortunately, we got injuries and we had to put him as the number one. He was immature and wasn’t ready for that,” he told Sky Sports News (11th Feb, 10.25am).
McClaren went on to add: “Newcastle have done the same with Joelinton at this present moment. Another young player who is finding it difficult to establish himself at Newcastle. And maybe, that number nine at Newcastle is a big, big shirt to fill.
“Mitrovic, Joelinton, for young players it’s difficult. Mitrovic suffered [at Newcastle] and has done tremendously well in the Championship.”
Mitrovic should have been Newcastle’s main man for years to come, but his face just didn’t fit. However, he’s been sensational since joining Fulham, suggesting the Magpies made a mistake letting him go. He’s scored 20 times so far this season in the Championship.
Newcastle must continue to persevere with Joelinton. In recent weeks, he has shown signs of improvement.
And like McClaren alluded to, young strikers need experience around them. Mitrovic was forced to be the main man but wasn’t ready.
You could argue that Joelinton isn’t ready either, and he has even less support than Mitro.
If Newcastle had brought in another striker last month, that would have relieved the pressure on Joelinton’s shoulders. But alas, the number nine must continue as the main man for the rest of the season.
Here’s hoping Joelinton will eventually succeed where Mitrovic failed.