Joelinton addresses fan discontent at Newcastle United after £40m move

Joelinton says he’ll bring “fight” to Newcastle United following his club-record move to St James’s Park – as Steve Bruce battles to win over fans on Tyneside.

By Miles Starforth
Wednesday, 24 July, 2019, 19:00
Joelinton and Steve Bruce.

Joelinton this week signed from Hoffenheim in a deal which could cost the club up to £40million.

The striker faced the media yesterday with Bruce, who last week succeeded Rafa Benitez at St James’s Park.

Joelinton, handed the iconic No9 jersey by the club’s new head coach, replaces loanee Salomon Rondon, who has joined Benitez at Dalian Yifang.

The 22-year-old, for his part, is just looking forward to letting his feet do the talking.

“I bring a lot of fight to the pitch and a lot of emotion – a lot of running and fight,” said Joelinton. “I can hold the ball up and bring others into play, but I don’t like talking about myself – I prefer to show it on the pitch.

“I feel good and ready, I know my quality and I’m aware of the faith and trust the club has placed in me. I appreciate how high the expectations are, but I come from a very strong league in Germany, and I hope to improve and bring success to Newcastle.”

Joelinton met United owner Mike Ashley – who flew into the club’s training ground by helicopter to meet Bruce and his players – before facing the media at the club’s training ground.

“Mike said he was happy to have me here, and wished me good luck,” said the Brazilian, who netted seven Bundesliga goals for Hoffenheim last season.

One of Joelinton’s ambitions is to get international recognition while at St James’s Park, having previously represented Brazil at Under-17 level.

“I have many objectives, and some have been achieved,” said Joelinton. “One is to get in the Brazil national team. I’ve joined the best and most difficult league in the world. I know the club’s history, and I hope for a good season and to be in the Brazil squad.

“Newcastle have ambitions, like I have ambitions, and we hope to meet them.

“It’s a big club, strong traditions and passionate fans about their team which transmits to the players. In Brazil, fans were passionate, and it was the same in Austria (with Rapid Wien), and that was important to me.”

Joelinton is aware of the importance of the “legendary” No9 jersey to United fans, having studied the club’s history as the two clubs were in talks over his move.

“Before I came here I did a lot of research, and put a lot of thought into it, and I’m happy to be here,” said Joelinton.

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“I’m happy to wear the No9 – it’s a tremendous show of faith and trust. I’m relaxed about it, and I look to honour the shirt and help my team-mates on the pitch and meet our objectives together.

“I think I appreciate the responsibility of the No9 shirt – and the legendary status of the shirt – and I’m really happy to wear it and hope to score lots of goals.”

Goals from Joelinton will help boyhood Newcastle fan Bruce, who knows he must win over a sceptical public.

“Steve’s a great guy,” said Bruce. “He demands a lot on the training pitch. It’s very intense, and I like that. He talks to the players, and I like that from a coach.”

A boycott is planned of Newcastle’s season-opener against Arsenal at St James’s Park on August 11 by fans unhappy at the loss of Benitez – and years of under-investment from Ashley.

The investment in Joelinton, however, is a statement from Ashley, who has been trying to sell the club since October 2017.

Asked about supporter discontent, Joelinton said: “I’m aware of the discontent – I’ve seen comments. It’s normal, as fans want success and to win a trophy. I hope to make them happy this season, and I’m happy my transfer has brought some joy to them.”

Bruce – who flew out to China last week to link up with the club for the Premier League Asia Trophy after leaving Sheffield Wednesday – also addressed the mood among fans after returning to Tyneside.

“I understand I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, and I’m not Rafa Benitez, who’s an extremely good manager,” said the 58-year-old. “I have broad shoulders – I’ll need them. Hopefully, given time, the supporters will turn around and think ‘he’s not so bad after all’.

“I can only do that by getting results and taking the club forward. I’ve managed to do that wherever I have been. I hope that given a fair crack of the whip. I’m confident in my ability that I can do the job I want to. The proof is in the pudding.”

Joelinton, meanwhile, will have to deal with pressure of wearing the No9 shirt.

Asked about the signing of Joelinton, Bruce said: “Delighted of course. He’s aware of the No9 jersey, and what it brings.

“He needs big broad shoulders to deal with it, and he has that in abundance. He has the potential to be a top-class centre-forward. I’m delighted to be my first signing.”