Newcastle United appeared to have pulled off a bit of a transfer coup when Siem de Jong was signed for a reported £6m last summer.
The Ajax midfielder had a great goalscoring record in Holland and plenty of Champions League experience.
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A few did point out that the fee seemed a bit too good to be true, with it also a puzzle as to why other clubs weren’t competing for him, whilst he’d also started picking up regular injuries. Plus at the age of 25 (as he was back in summer 2014) he had only played 4 minutes of competitive football for his national team, plus starting 4 friendlies.
Like all players we sign under Mike Ashley, we know that we aren’t going to get a fresh off the shelf guaranteed quality player, without the odd negative attached.
Moving forward almost a year and we still don’t know what impact Siem de Jong can have on Newcastle United and indeed whetehr we will ever find out.
Like all United players, we are desperate for him to be a success but you also have to face facts.
These are the major injuries that Siem de Jong has suffered over the last 18 months, meaning he has started just 17 league matches in that time, including 1 at Newcastle.
Pneumothorax (Collapsed lung) February 2015
Thigh September 2014
Hamstring March 2014
Thigh January 2014
Hamstring November 2013
Hamstring October 2013
Pneumothorax August 2013
Now maybe come August, Siem de Jong will be in the team for the first game and play right through the year without a problem, I really hope he does.
If I was a betting man though, I’d suggest it would be a bit unlikely.
It isn’t a case of writing the Dutch midfielder off, in fact it is quite the opposite.
What my point is, is that Newcastle/Mike Ashley have to accept that they can’t rely on de Jong being a key part of the team next season.
You can already hear the club’s friendly press carrying the ‘like a new signing’ headlines, ‘flying in training’ and so on.
When the action starts for real next season, that is when Siem de jong will be really put to the test and his injury record of the last two years suggests strongly that he will have to be very lucky to get through it unscathed.
It is no good come September if de Jong breaks down again, for the club to turn around and say that his injury has unhinged all their plans as he was the key player etc etc.
There has to be some insurance built into the squad, you can’t have a repeat of the circus of the last few years where a few key injuries leave Newcastle in crisis.
We have all see the almost total absence of creativity and goalscoring ability this season, with the credible exceptions of Perez, Cisse and Janmaat.
Newcastle can’t leave themselves open to a season resting on one or two players staying fit, especially when in the cases of Cisse and de Jong it is almost certain not to happen.
Football might be a game of 11 v 11 but only a fool would run a Premier League club based on a reliance of such a small group carrying the club for an entire season.