Date: 5th June 2019 at 6:31am
Written by: Tony O'Connell

The name of TSG Hoffenheim striker Joelinton is one that refuses to fade into the darkness as we head deeper into the transfer window, but Rafa Benitez’s willingness to add the Brazilian to his strike force remains uncertain.

It was suggested during May that the board had placed Joelinton high in their plans for potential targets this summer, and may be willing to pay as much as £40million to see the transfer go through.

With Benitez’s contract situation still unresolved, though, no players can be signed, as the Spaniard may have different targets to the man that may replace him at St James’ Park once his contract expires on June 30.

Head of Recruitment Steve Nickson, however, has to continue with business as normal, and the Chronicle understand he has been on several scouting missions since the Premier League season drew to a close, although it is unclear whether the club has been looking at their own targets or those on Benitez’s shortlist.

But when it comes to Joelinton, the feeling Lee Ryder gets from the club is that the 22-year-old is the one the board want to back, and that a package to finance his £40million transfer seems to be in place, even though Benitez would prefer the funds to be spread over different targets.

During a Facebook Live earlier in the week discussing the club’s scouting targets, Ryder said: “I keep a very close eye on the Joelinton situation at Hoffenheim because, as a club – and this is just my interpretation from what I’ve been told – I think Newcastle would like to sign Joelinton.

“There seems to be some kind of package [in place], whether it’s staggered payments or what, I’m not entirely sure. But there seems to be some structure available if they want to sign Joelinton.

“Rafa, while he thinks Joelinton is a decent player, he’s thinking that money could be pooled somewhere else to sign a different striker, or a different midfielder, or whatever his plans are.”

Its hardly the most resolute position on our efforts to sign Joelinton or not, but the Brazilian’s situation will be one to keep an eye on, as he has the potential to lift our attack next season after striking the back of the net every 240 minutes for Hoffenheim in their recent season across all competitions.

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