If recent reports are to be believed; Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez is keen on bringing Real Sociedad striker Willian Jose to St James’ Park this summer.
The 25-year-old Brazilian has hit 10 goals in 23 La Liga games this season and is rated at £27million. With a value like that, this link is sure to capture the imagination of the Geordie public and would represent a huge statement of intent from Mike Ashley.
However, caution must be urged when thinking about a signing like this. £27m is a huge sum of money for a player who is not guaranteed to enjoy life in the Premier League and although 10 goals in 23 games is a good record; it is not earth-shattering and could be achieved by players costing three times lesser.
Despite the huge strength of Real Madrid and Barcelona, the Spanish league is not as deep as the English Premier League. The top clubs in England are generally not as good as the big two in Spain, but there are at least 20-24 clubs in England who can play at the top and who can give anyone a game on their day.
Only 1 of Willian Jose’s goals this season in the league has come away from home – the one at Leganes – which would be a big red flag in terms of how he would handle away games in the Premier League. Although he could very well improve, it is a concern too that his overall goalscoring record is disappointing on paper.
His biggest season in Brazil was back in 2012 when he scored 12 goals for Sao Paulo before moving on to Gremio and then Santos. Since reaching Spain for a trial with Real Madrid, Willian Jose waited until 2014/15 for a proper chance, that too in the Segunda with Real Zaragoza. 10 league goals that season was just the second time he had achieved double figures before moving to Las Palmas in the Primera Liga.
9 goals were scored there in 30 games before his latest move to Real Sociedad. This season promises to be his best in front of goal, but paying £27million for this player would be a huge risk. Everton are reportedly interested in replacing Romelu Lukaku with Willian Jose and in that scenario, they would certainly have the money to buy him.
At 25, Willian Jose has not represented Brazil at full international level and is not prolific in front of goal, so should Newcastle break the bank for him? It would be a huge gamble if they did.