Luuk de Jong
From: Borussia Monchengladbach
Fee: On Loan
Luuk de Jong began his career at De Graafschap before making the move to FC Twente in 2009 and winning the Eredivisie title in his first season at the club, whilst still a teenager. Netting 52 goals for the club over the course of the next two seasons, he continued his upward trajectory and scored his first goal for Holland in 2011. But a €15million move to Borussia Monchengladbach the following year was not a success and Newcastle have revived a long-standing interest in the striker to take him on loan to the Premier League.
"Newcastle is a great club and I have a good feeling about it. I am very impressed with the stadium and training ground and have been made to feel very welcome by everyone I have met. 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."
"We're delighted to bring Luuk de Jong to the club. He has an excellent pedigree and will add significantly to our striking options. We've been watching him for a little while now and I am sure he will prove to be a valuable acquisition for us. He's a great character and a proven goalscorer who I know is very keen to replicate the prolific form he showed for FC Twente in the Eredivisie." - Joe Kinnear, Newcastle United director of football.
Luuk De Jong: definitely worth a punt. Struggled at Gladbach but Favre's approach didn't suit a target-man striker so never seen at his best- Mark Langdon (@marklangdon) January 28, 2014
Given that the deal is with a view to a permanent move, Newcastle have an easy way out if the switch doesn't work but there is a huge upside to the deal if De Jong can get back on track. This is a young player who scored 32 goals for Twente in the 2011/12 season and was one of the hottest properties in Europe under Steve McClaren. "I would advise Luke to spend another year establishing himself in Holland doing it again," said McClaren at the time. "They will be getting the best of him in a year's time." Despite a difficult year, Newcastle might well be getting just that.
Yet to score this season, it's been a while since De Jong has shown anything approximating form in front of goal. Going from the Gladbach to being expected to have an impact in a Tyne-Wear derby is a huge ask and despite his pedigree, this is a player yet to prove himself outside of the Eredivisie. Newcastle fans only need look down the road to see how Jozy Altidore's goal every 123 minutes in Holland last season has translated to a goal every 1,243 minutes in the Premier League to see the potential problem. Papiss Cisse fared far better than De Jong in Germany...
De Jong will have to hit the ground running but with Newcastle short of strikers and in need of a target man to replace Shola Ameobi, this is a huge opportunity for De Jong to be a success at a team that is likely to play to his strengths. Expect him to get back among the goals.
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