By Noel Whelan

17th Feb, 2020 | 1:54pm

Exclusive: Pundit claims Joelinton replacement is already at Newcastle

Noel Whelan delivered another damning verdict on Newcastle United striker Joelinton but suggested the solution to the problem is right in front of Steve Bruce. 

The former Leeds United forward, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, thinks Allan Saint-Maximin should be deployed as a central-striker in future matches.

The 22-year-old has been used as a winger since arriving from Nice in a £16.2million deal last summer and has been one of The Magpies’ brightest sparks going forward.

Joelinton came under criticism again last night for his lacklustre display against Arsenal as Steve Bruce’s side slumped to a 4-0 loss at the Emirates.

Whelan believes it is time to try something new at St. James Park and thinks the pace of Saint-Maximin could be the answer.

Saint-Maximin is the one that looks the most dangerous in that side,” the ex-Coventry forward told Football Insider.   

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“You need to take Joelinton out of there and bang him through the middle – hurt people with his pace. Something a little bit different because I look at Joelinton and I am not sure what he is giving them.

“What is he going to provide that is going to get them further up the table? I cannot see him hitting 20 goals a season for them.

“They need a hungry player with desire. You need to be busting your gut to get into the box and he was not.”   

The Brazilian striker has only scored one Premier League goal in 26 appearances this season following his transfer from Hoffenheim this summer for a near £40million.

Saint-Maximin also has just the one goal in the league but has played only 15 times and albeit from a predominantly wide position.

In other Newcastle United news, Bruce names three players who have been a big let down on Tyneside.