EDDIE HOWE admits Newcastle United have missed Joelinton’s physical robustness in the last few weeks, and doubled down on his call for the club’s hierarchy to do all they can to keep the Brazilian on Tyneside.

Joelinton is expected to miss the rest of the season after undergoing thigh surgery earlier this month, with his absence having already had a major impact on the make-up of the Magpies’ midfield.

Howe’s side could certainly have done with the 27-year-old’s athleticism and competitiveness as they surrendered tamely at Arsenal on Saturday night, and Howe accepts he will be a big miss once again when Newcastle look to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals by winning at Blackburn Rovers tomorrow night.

“Yes, I think we’ve missed Joe’s qualities,” said Howe, who has been left short of midfield options with Elliot Anderson also sidelined and Joe Willock only just returning from a long-term lay-off of his own. “Especially physically, his robustness, his abilities in duels, set-plays for and against.


“We’re very lucky to have a midfielder that’s as big as he is and as competitive as he is, and whenever you lose those qualities, you notice when they're not there.

“He's a very unusual midfielder, really, a prototype. You don't get many like him and it's certainly been missed, what he can bring.”

Joelinton’s long-term future remains in a state of flux, with his current contract on Tyneside due to expire in the summer of 2025.

Discussions over a new deal stalled in the latter half of last year, leading to suggestions that the Brazil international could be sold in the summer if he refuses to sign a new contract.

Joelinton’s representatives are understood to be demanding a significant increase on his current wages – there have been suggestions that Newcastle will have to make him their highest-paid player in order to meet his demands – but Howe is adamant he does not want to lose such an influential member of his squad.

Darren Eales is set to lead future negotiations, with sporting director Dan Ashworth on gardening leave, and Howe is desperately hoping for a positive resolution to talks.

“That's always been in my mind as an absolute priority, to try to get him to stay at the club long-term,” said the Newcastle boss. “I see that as hugely important.”