29 C
Sunday, November 27, 2022

Ex-Rapidler Joelinton’s amazing development at Newcastle United

At SK Rapid, Joelinton was considered a talented chance death in the storm center. Today the Newcastle star is one of the better midfielders in the Premier League. How this amazing transformation came about and why Rapid looked through the fingers financially.

“I have a fantastic relationship with him. He has so much talent, we love him more than anything”: Joelinton is one of Newcastle coach Eddie Howe’s favorite students. This is not only made clear by euphoric statements, but also by his regular place in the starting XI of the financially revitalized “Magpies”, who, at the latest after the controversial Saudi takeover, are back in sixth place in the top half of the Premier League table.

Joelinton rarely heard warm words like these in his two years at SK Rapid between 2016 and 2018. At that time, the Brazilian, on loan from Bundesliga club TSG Hoffenheim, mostly played as a center forward, was notorious among the fans as a killer of opportunities and, by definition, was not a crowd favorite in the broader public.

Since then, the sporting development of the now 26-year-old has been amazing: Joelinton is currently one of the better eights in the hottest league in world football.

Promoter Fredy Bickel on Joelinton: “I saw the potential immediately”

While some kibitzers of Austrian football raise their eyebrows at England’s most north-eastern city, one person is not entirely surprised: Fredy Bickel. The Swiss joined Rapid Vienna as managing director around six months after Joelinton and quickly became an admirer of the young player. “Actually, you could see right away that he had incredible potential. The big question even then was his position. We discussed: Is he a striker, a hanging striker or even a figure eight?” Bickel recalled in an interview SPOX.

Most of the time, Joelinton acted as an attacker and missed the box. “There was a good saying from coach Goran Djuricin: We have good strikers who don’t score. That was related to Joelinton,” remembers Bickel. A circumstance that was probably due to his inexperience, Bickel suspects. Joelinton scored 21 goals in 79 games for Rapid, but helped in other ways. “He often attracted three opponents to help his team-mates,” said Bickel. Qualities that not everyone saw. Joelinton’s game often caused restlessness in the passionate Rapid audience, and it was not uncommon for unpleasant words to be exchanged about the shy player on loan on social networks.

Too many pizzas for Joelinton

“It was unbelievable for me. He noticed that too. Joelinton is an incredibly nice, sensitive person. He was young, new to Vienna, ate too much pizza here and there – it was difficult for him,” says Bickel . “But he wanted to get ahead, tried extremely hard to learn German, but also felt that the spectators never really appreciated him.”

A German teacher took care of Joelinton personally, showed him the peculiarities of the city and tried to integrate. And that very successfully. “I’m a Wiener,” Joelinton was supposed to say about his time in Hütteldorf. “We knew what potential he had and wanted to keep him at the club longer. Unfortunately, it was difficult to get through at the club, it was felt that he wasn’t valued that much from outside.”

Bickel fought for another collaboration with Joelinton, a fight against windmills. The purchase option negotiated by predecessor Andreas Müller was not feasible for Rapid. “The clause was in the higher single-digit millions, that was beyond Rapid. It was difficult to negotiate it down. I tried to leave 40 percent of the resale participation with the Germans so that they could really benefit. We tried all the legal options . But we didn’t have that much leeway either, no offense meant, but not everyone in the club wanted it that badly,” Bickel is still annoyed today.

“I thought that was a shame at the time. We made good money through transfers, especially from Maximilian Wöber for over six million euros to Ajax. It would have been good for the club to spend more money. As with Kalajdzic, when you didn’t have more than one half a million euros to which Admira wanted to pay. You could guess how good he is. Everything was already clear with Kalajdzic, the contract was already in place. He had agreed, but Rapid didn’t want to go beyond a limit, to my disappointment. It was missing the courage. If everyone had fought for Joelinton, there would have been a chance. Joelinton had thought about staying and would have helped himself. With a little more will in the same direction, you could have done a little more back then.”

Joelinton’s unexpected breakthrough at Hoffenheim

In the summer of 2018, Joelinton returned to the parent club TSG Hoffenheim. With an uncertain future, the Bundesliga club continued to look for a buyer for Joelinton. But at the latest during the preparations, the wind began to change and the strong attacking player won the favor of coach Julian Nagelsmann. “The opponent has the feeling that he’s past him, and then he comes with his bones that are forever long,” his coach should enthused after Joelinton played firmly in the Hoffenheim team and after the end of the season he had 20 points in 35 games in all competitions could look back. TSG Hoffenheim struck gold.

And it wasn’t just goal participation that suddenly made Joelinton a valuable asset. “He’s a terrible edge,” said TSG sporting director Alexander Rosen of his protégé. Rapid’s hopes veered from another engagement in Hütteldorf to a hefty resale stake – the Viennese club still had a 10 per cent stake in any sale of the player – a reward for accelerating the Brazilian’s development.

But there was a catch. “Unfortunately we weren’t able to earn any money because our participation was only valid for one year and the player was sold a little later,” Bickel recalls with a bit of a stomach ache. An ankle injury delayed Joelinton’s departure from Hoffenheim. At the end of July 2019, TSG announced Joelinton’s sale to Newcastle United – for a whopping 44 million euros. Instead of recording 4.4 million euros, Rapid looked through their fingers – whether TSG deliberately delayed the deal can only be speculated about.

Explosion after changing position

History repeated itself a bit in Joelinton’s first two seasons at Newcastle. The Brazilian acted as a center forward and a trouble spot for defenders, but with a lack of efficiency. Only in the past season, especially under coach Eddie Howe, did the idea of ​​using Joelinton on the eight germinate. With success – he unpacked “the long bones” again and presented himself as a “terrible edge”. No Newcastle attacking player intermittently intercepted more balls, cleared the ball more often and registered more successful tackles.

“When a player makes such a dramatic leap forward, of course it gives satisfaction, but I don’t take any credit for it, it’s only for ‘Joe’,” Howe said a few days ago The Athletic. “I remember my first training session. I was like, ‘Wow, what kind of player is that?’ I didn’t know that much about him, but he showed exceptional talent.”

Although millions are now flowing to Newcastle after the Saudi takeover – Alexander Isak (70 million euros), Sven Botman (37 million euros) and Matt Targett (17.5 million euros) hired in the summer – Joelinton, on the contrary, has to agree Teammates probably don’t worry too much about his place in the squad. The 26-year-old is an integral part of Newcastle United – a circumstance that seemed unthinkable a few years ago.


Latest news
Related news


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here