According to recent reports, Newcastle United have been scouting Hoffenheim striker Joelinton this season, despite the Brazilian star having a price tag of £52m.
The report even suggested that talks between the clubs had been progressing well, and a deal of 60 million euros was being negotiated.
Naturally, Newcastle fans were quick to scoff at the rumour, but a report from The Chronicle suggests it was not complete fabrication.
They even went as far as to suggest Newcastle had seen a huge bid of £43m turned down by Hoffenheim.
It’s difficult to believe Mike Ashley would ever sanction so much spending for a transfer, but even more so given Salomon Rondon’s current situation.
The Venezuelan’s current loan contract is slowly running down and Newcastle seem reluctant to make his signing permanent.
Yet it’s bizarre that Newcastle would consider spending so much money on Joelinton when Rondon is available at a much lower cost.
He is still a vital component of Rafa Benitez’s squad and proven at Premier league level.
Is Joelinton such an improvement that it’s worth Newcastle breaking the bank?
Joelinton: A better Rondon?
The name and nationality of Joelinton brings to mind an agile, skilful Brazilian, a country known for their single-named tricksters.
Hoffenheim fans have even dubbed him the new Roberto Firmino due to certain similarities.
The German side was previously the playground of Firmino before his move to Liverpool, and so naturally Joelinton is seen as his successor.
But a quick, creative number nine, Joelinton is not.
In fact, the Brazilian has much more in common with Rondon than he does Firmino.
At 6ft1, the striker is of a similar height and build to the Venezuelan, and at first glance appears to be more of a target man.
Joelinton like Rondon, excels at bringing his teammates into play as opposed to being just a pure goal scorer.
He has hit just seven goals in 23 games in the Bundesliga this season, with five assists.
Coincidentally Rondon has also scored 7 goals in 23 games in the PL this season, but with four assists.
However, despite their similarities, there are slight differences between the players.
Whereas Rondon excels in the air, Joelinton is much more comfortable with ball at his feet.
Despite his build, he’s also deceivingly quick, which combined with his strength makes him a real threat.
He would certainly bring a different dynamic to the Toon’s frontline, whilst also fulfilling the void of Rondon.
The pros and cons
Joelinton’s price tag is obviously not ideal for Newcastle.
The club was hesitant to even buy Miguel Almiron for £21m in January, and there’s no way they’d spend double that fee in the summer.
However the recent scouting reports suggest they are getting serious about the striker, and it’s obvious why.
Rondon’s loan situation is not ideal, and plenty of other clubs will be interested in the striker come the summer.
Joelinton would undoubtedly be a perfect replacement for the Venezuelan.
At 22 years of age, the striker has a long future in the game and is an exciting prospect.
And as good as Rondon has been for Newcastle, Joelinton appears to be a more complete striker.
But even if Hoffenheim decreased their asking price, it’s unlikely they’d let him go for less than £30m.
There is no guarantee Joelinton would even be an improvement on Rondon either.
Despite being a more eye-catching player, his almost identical stats don’t suggest a player worth three times the price.
At 22 he is not the finished article, but it seems Newcastle can’t afford to buy for the future.
Rondon is undoubtedly a more realistic option for now.
And considering the striker has been involved in 42% of Newcastle’s Premier League goals this season, his signing is absolutely necessary.
If Mike Ashley elects to pass on the Venezuelan in the summer, Newcastle will be in a nightmare scenario.
Because given Joelinton’s price tag, securing any decent replacement for Rondon is going to be near impossible.