Tonight, Newcastle United announced the loan signing of Dutch forward Luuk de Jong from Borussia Mönchengladbach until the end of the season, with a view to permanency.
The 23-year-old passed his medical today and joins fellow Oranje internationals Tim Krul and Vurnon Anita at the Premier League outfit. The striker is desperate to make an impression for the Magpies after being frozen out at Mönchengladbach.
De Jong joined the Bundesliga side for a reported €15m two years ago, after notching 45 goals in 86 appearances for FC Twente. Unfortunately, after the lack of chances in the first-team, De Jong has found the net just six times in Germany. De Jong did not fare well under Swiss coach Lucien Favre, who restricted him to cameo appearances this term and froze him out of his first team plans.
De Jong last scored in April 2013 in a 1-0 win against Greuther Furth. Reflecting on his time in Germany, De Jong stated: “The coach did not give me the impression he had faith in me. It has been a time to forget. He just did not talk to me that much.”
In an interview with the club official website, De Jong is now looking forward: “It has been a tough season for me so far but I am here to play games and want to be important for the team, and successful with goals and assists.”
“I am really looking forward to playing for Newcastle.”
The Oranje international, who has won seven caps, could make his debut in Saturday’s Tyne-Wear derby against bitter North-East rivals Sunderland at St. James Park. De Jong will compete with Loic Remy, Papiss Cisse and Shola Ameobi for a place up front, and try to play himself in contention for the Dutch World Cup squad this summer.
WHAT WILL HE BRING TO THE TOON?
The brother of Ajax playmaker Siem de Jong, Luuk started at De Graafschap and rose up through the ranks for the youth squad. He played one season in the first-team and that was enough to persaude FC Twente to snap him up at the start of the 2009/2010 season.
The notoriously composed De Jong has already, at 23, a history of winning titles and has played in pressure-cooker atmospheres such as the Amsterdam ArenA. Winning the Dutch title under Steve McClaren, he experienced some high-octane and shouldn’t be affected by a passionate but potentially overwhelming grounds of the Premier League.
Past history has shown that the Dutchman is pretty calm in the penalty area. If he regains his confidence, you will not see him rush his shot and he does not stress with defenders breathing down his neck.
An undervalued attribute is his ability to finish with both feet. Although the right foot is his strongest, he has scored a lot of goals with his left. His movement is excellent and quick, and even standing at 6ft 2inches tall, he can use his speed to move quickly to pressurize the opposition. He can hold his own in the air so if Newcastle can find some decent deliveries now that Yohan Cabaye has been sold, De Jong will become an aerial threat. With Remy and Cisse, Alan Pardew’s side lack height and presence up front so the arrival of De Jong should take that burden from Shola Ameobi, who has been a bit-part player for Newcastle this season as a target man.
Even though he is tall, do not except him to be the new Duncan Ferguson as he is not the most aggressive forward you’ll see. In the past, Twente’s and Mönchengladbach’s creative players have provided De Jong with clear-cut chances, not created many of his own, so this is where he may struggle and drift out of the game against the most aggressive of Premier League’s defences.
With a loan deal, it is not much of a gamble for Newcastle, the risk all falls on the Luuk de Jong. This is a chance for him to prove himself once again and either cement a permanent deal in the North-East, or once again impress scouts across Europe that had many clubs vying for his signature 18 months ago.
Whether or not he will be a success is yet to be seen, but with his cool attitude in the box and if the likes of Hatem Ben Arfa, Vurnon Anita and Moussa Sissoko can create for him, maybe you could see De Jong in the Oranje squad and a black and white shirt for years to come.
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