Newcastle United have finally made an official move to bring a player into the club, after selling Yohan Cabaye to PSG prior to their 0-0 draw with Norwich City. Dutch striker Luuk de Jong was made official on loan Wednesday, with reports of a future fee to make the move permanent in the summer depending on his play the next few months.
Most notably the move for de Jong does one important thing for the Toon and that's give them another attacking option up front, which has been exceedingly limited since whatever closet Papiss Cisse has been locked in occurred. The Toon have relied mostly on Loic Remy and Yohan Cabaye for goals and one of those players is now gone and the other is clearly beginning to run out of steam and in need of some help up front.
Enter de Jong, who could play an important role on Saturday against Sunderland, debuting in the Tyne-Wear Derby with a chance to instantly become a Newcastle hero.
"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," de Jong said when he was introduced as a new signing. "I am really looking forward to playing for Newcastle."
As we all know, de Jong was originally a target for Newcastle two years ago, but ended up at Gladbach where he quickly was a bust and fell out of favor with their manager. He's played just a total of 85 minutes in 13 matches in the Bundesliga this season with no goals after scoring eight goals in 30 matches last season. His final season in the Eredivisie he netted 32 goals and 18 assists in 51 appearances for FC Twente, including Europa League matches.
I am, admittedly, new to following soccer on the level I follow and cover the NFL but through what I've gleaned and researched, Dutch strikers from the Eredivisie are extremely hit or miss but that doesn't necessarily mean de Jong will have as tough of a time at Newcastle as he had in Germany.
de Jong does add a few things to the pitch that Newcastle have been lacking however, which should mesh well with how they're currently playing. He adds some needed pace upfront, which we saw against Norwich with Sammy Ameobi and Hatem Ben Arfa in the lineup can put loads of stress on a back line and allow players to get in the box for shots on goal. This isn't to say Remy, Yoan Gouffran and Cisse can't provide that as they do, but it's not often all are on the pitch at the same time and when another striker is added up front paired, it's often Shola Ameobi who is really just a target man to distribute the ball after bombing it down field.
With the addition of de Jong, who's actually very good in the air even with his scoring slump in Germany, they Toon get someone who can do what Shola has been doing, but also offer more in the attack. They can actually be an outlet and threaten the keeper both in the air and from inside the box. It's a potential dynamic element the Toon can have up front with two strikers they haven't had in quite a while really, since neither Cisse or Remy are best used with their back to the goal.
I don't want to over exaggerate the move, but I actually think it will prove to be one that works out well. Not necessarily in the de Jong will be a goal machine, but that it should open things up elsewhere on the pitch.
For those interested, de Jong will wear the No. 18 kit.