This article forms part of our The Ones That Got Away feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern take a look back at players linked with moves in the past, and see how they would have made an impact had they signed for the interested side.
Newcastle United went big in the summer looking to land their new, leading number nine, and brought Joelinton to the Premier League from TSG Hoffenheim for a club-record £40million (BBC). The Brazilian was not the only striker the Toon considered, though, as reports in Germany have suggested the North East outfit made moves to sign 1. FSV Mainz 05’s Jean-Philippe Mateta.
The 22-year-old was one of the stars of the Bundesliga last season as he hit 14 goals in 34 games for a strike rate of one every 177.9 minutes (TransferMarkt), with successful efforts to his name against Werder Bremen, Hoffenheim, FC Schalke 04, RB Leipzig and a hat-trick against SC Freiburg.
It was the LB Chateauroux product’s first campaign in Germany having joined Mainz from Olympique Lyonnais in 2018 for €10million (£8.6m), and he would end the term with a new contract in his pocket, keeping the former France U21 international at the Opel Arena until at least 2023 (Bulinews).
Mateta is yet to feature this season due to a meniscus injury sustained in the summer that required the forward to undergo an operation, and ruled him out of action for at least three months. Yet, while that is the case, the Sevran-born striker has been in the headlines of late after Sport Bild (via Sport Witness) claimed details of Newcastle’s summer approach.
The German publication claim the Magpies were one of several sides to have sounded out moves in the recent transfer window, and saw offers knocked back for the 6 ft 2 centre-forward to the sum of €28m (£24.1) after an earlier bid of between €20m (£17.2m) and €25m (£21.5m) was turned down.
Southampton also made offers to Mainz for Mateta to no avail, while Watford, Everton, Brighton, Cardiff City, AS Monaco and Olympique de Marseille are noted for making contact with the Frenchman’s Bundesliga side.
Newcastle’s alleged offer of €28m being rejected was no surprise after L’Equipe (via Sport Witness) claimed in June that Mainz would only accept €35m-40m (£30.1m-£34.4m) for Mateta, and instead of matching that sum, the Toon completed their swoop for Joelinton.
Mike Ashley, Steve Bruce and Managing Director Lee Charnley may feel they backed the wrong horse after the opening months of the season, though, as Joelinton has scored just once in Black and White and has struggled to offer a threat up front for the St. James’ Park natives.
Against Leicester City and Manchester United, the 23-year-old failed to record a shot on goal (WhoScored), and attempted just the single effort at Chelsea on Saturday, coming in the 24th-minute and which was off target.
Prior to this weekend at least, Joelinton’s last shot on target in the Premier League was, in fact, his goal in North London against Tottenham Hotspur, with his two strikes against Watford, a sole effort at Liverpool and three shots against Brighton & Hove Albion failing to find the mark.
The Alianca-born striker is now averaging a shot every 51.2 minutes in the top-flight for United, but is taking 239 minutes to direct one goal-bound. He took a shot on average every 38.1 minutes in the Bundesliga for Hoffenheim last season, with a shot on target coming every 89 minutes.
As for Mateta, he was striking a shot every 55.4 minutes last term and one on target every 73.4 minutes, while winning 3.9 of 7.5 aerial duels per ninety minutes compared to Joelinton’s 2.7 from 6.7.
Ashley could right any concerns he may have over splashing the cash on the wrong striker by funding a pursuit for Mateta in January, as Sport Bild add that he does not rule out a move during the winter window. But would the Newcastle owner spend big again having broken the Toon’s club-record twice in 2019?
Newcastle fans, did Ashley splash the cash on the wrong striker? Let us know in the comments below…Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more Newcastle notifications!