Siem de Jong played more minutes than any other Newcastle player on Friday night.
The Dutch midfielder on the pitch for the first 75 minutes before Achraf Lazaar replaced him.
There were 22 players used in all and difficult to tell whether it was just a quirk that Siem de Jong ended up playing more than the other 21 players.
Other attacking players such as Gayle, Atsu, Aarons and Shelvey were all replaced at half-time, whilst Diame stayed on until the 62nd minute. One train of thought is that maybe Rafa Bentez wants to see as much of Siem de Jong as early as possible to then decide whether he can do a job in the Premier League.
Certainly his beautiful turn and through ball for Dwight Gayle to score the first goal after three minutes against Hearts wouldn’t look out of place in the top tier. However, Siem de Jong then didn’t really get involved enough after that moment and doubts naturally still persist whether he would get the time and space to produce it in the Premier League and of course whether he has the pace/movement to succeed.
With only four league starts for Newcastle since signing in 2014, last season’s loan at PSV was a relative success, staying relatively injury free and involved in 23 matches.
However, the fact PSV selected him to start only 10 games in the weak Dutch league and he was on the bench 15 times, doesn’t really suggest he is a likely starter for the Premier League.
Siem de Jong’s agent Louis Laros has been talking about the player’s future and he says that they don’t know what Rafa Benitez’ intentions are with the former Ajax player, though Laros says nothing has changed, in that de Jong is still desperate to succeed with Newcastle.
The agent says that he expects more signings to be made by Newcastle and seemingly indicating that which players arrive and in which positions, could be a major factor in what happens to the Dutch midfielder.
Laros says that this is the first proper chance Siem de Jong has had to try and impress the Newcastle manager and will try to seize the chance but at the same time he admits, that they continue to collect any expressions of interest from other clubs in case he does have to look elsewhere.
If it comes to that, Louis Laros admits that the level of wages de Jong is on at Newcastle will make it difficult to move, especially for the likes of Dutch clubs to afford him, as well as any transfer fee.
Rumours have circulated claiming the midfielder has been offered permanently to PSV but the player’s agent dismisses this as unfounded.
One of the more interesting Newcastle players to watch out for this summer, in terms of whether he can do enough to convince Rafa.
Louis Laros talking to Voetbal International:
“We do not know (what Rafa Benitez has planned for Siem de Jong), the preparation has just started and Siem has never made a secret of it his intention to still succeed at Newcastle,
“Newcastle have not bought a lot of new players (this summer), so I expect that there still will be some signings in the near future.
“Wait and see if there is the opportunity for Siem. He has never really worked under Benitez, so he must now try to take his chance.
“We obviously take account of that scenario (Siem de Jong needing to find a new club) and therefore continuously collect options.
“Those options (of moving elsewhere) are there now and Siem is regularly kept informed.
“But any transfer is not easy. You have to deal with his salary, the asking price and the prospect of another club.
“That (rumours of Siem de Jong offered to PSV) is absolute nonsense, I know nothing of that.”