The Dossier: Can Jeronimo replace Taggart at the Jets?

Goal Australia crunches the Opta numbers to deliver a verdict on the new signing at Hunter Stadium, who is certain to be judged by the standards of Australia's World Cup forward.

Filling the void left by a departed golden boot winner isn't an easy task, but the Newcastle Jets and their new coach Phil Stubbins appear to making a decent job of it, not least with the capture of Jeronimo Neumann from Adelaide United.

Adam Taggart shouldered a disproportionate share of the goal-scoring burden at Hunter Stadium last season, netting 16 of the team's 34 goals to earn a World Cup berth and a move to Fulham. 

Just four other Jets players scored more than once and one of them, Nathan Burns, only featured in the first half of the season before returning to his parent club in Korea. He will play for Wellington Phoenix in 2014-15.

Of the other three, Joel Griffiths is still there and, having scored three in eight games since arriving in January, can be confident of making more of an impact with the benefits of a full pre-season.

The other two multiple scorers were centre-back Kew Jaliens and fullback/winger Craig Goodwin, who both had two apiece. It's handy enough to have a defender or a wide player chipping in, but goals need to come from more sources and with greater frequency if the Jets are to end their long finals drought.

They lacked a dedicated creator behind Taggart in 2013-14, as a succession of players rotated through attacking midfield with little impact.

If Marcos Flores can regain full fitness following a serious knee injury, the presence of the Argentine playmaker should help to rectify that deficit. 

Further forward, Emile Heskey and Michael Bridges are also gone. Having managed just two goals between them last term, it shouldn't be hard for the new arrivals to improve on their predecessors' poor return.

It's unlikely any one player within the Jets' financial reach would have been capable of replacing Taggart's contribution on their own.



Stubbins and his coaches recognise that the responsibility for creating and finishing chances must be shared, a strategy that will minimise the impact of inevitable injuries and suspension. With Taggart, Heskey and Bridges gone, that task will fall to new arrivals Jeronimo Neumann, Edson Montano and Flores, as well as Griffiths.

As the biggest signing yet of Stubbins' tenure, comparisons between Jeronimo and Taggart will be difficult to avoid, but the experienced Argentine is well placed to compensate for the loss of the Socceroos forward.

Quick and skilful, the former River Plate man shares Taggart's capacity for scoring both spectacular and simple goals.
 

A-League 2013-14

Adam Taggart (Newcastle Jets)

Jeronimo Neumann (Adelaide United)

Minutes played

2146

1584

Goals (Penalties)

16 (1)

9

Minutes per goal

134.1

176

Shooting Accuracy (%)

62.7

43.3

Assists

1

3

Chances Created

18

11

Penalties won

0

3

Passes

437

357

Passing accuracy

67.5

76.2

Passing accuracy (opp half)

65.7

71.1

Duels won

78

88

Recoveries

38

61

Interceptions

8

20

Tackles won

11

18

Offsides

32

9

Fouls won

32

32

Fouls conceded

22

42


He was less accurate in front of goal and created fewer chances for team-mates than Taggart last season, but did start nine matches fewer than the Australia international, as Josep Gombau often opted for Bruce Djite through the middle at Coopers Stadium. Jeronimo did boast a better passing accuracy, in general and in the opposition's half. Perhaps a full campaign in his preferred position will see him produce his best in a Newcastle shirt. 

An unexpected bonus could also be his ability to help the Jets defend from the front, with the Argentine having won more duels and effected more recoveries than Taggart last season. 

He also won more tackles and completed more interceptions than the younger man, demonstrating an appetite for the contest. Stubbins must ensure that competitive spirit doesn't spill over into outright indiscipline though, with Jeronimo having given away 20 more fouls and picked up four more yellow cards than his predecessor.

It won't all be about the ex-Estudiantes forward, with Montano, Griffiths, Flores and the Jets' attacking midfielders obliged to step up in the absence of their World Cup prodigy.

But there's no denying the signing of Jeronimo is a statement of intent from a club desperate to make an impression on the competition next season.