In the last day or two there has been a considerable amount of speculation linking FC Twente player Luuk de Jong with NUFC. Whilst I expect his departure will be imminent, once his tonsils removal operation is completed, I would be very (pleasantly) surprised if he was to be signed at SJP.
De Jong is a player that seems to have everything required to make the step up from the Eredivisie to the Premier League. He mixes the strength and retention of the old-fashioned number 9 with the fitness and running game that is the hallmark of Dutch Total Football.
He maintained his form and scoring rate whilst FC Twente entered the late season tailspin that means their European campaign begins next week against Andorran part-timers. Whilst FC Twente cannot afford to lose him, the reality is they lack the financial firepower to match the wages that he can undoubtedly command in one of the big leagues.
The financial difficulties and municipal bailout of a decade ago, still cast a long shadow at the Grolsch Veste and financial responsibility is something clearly important to FC Twente’s board. FC Twente remain a selling club and their skill has been to profitably trade in talent whilst holding together a squad that has won all three major Dutch trophies in as many years.
The rapid rise of rumours linking De Jong with clubs in Germany, Portugal and England, hint that his departure is imminent. Chairman Joop Munsterman’s single priority has to be to get the highest possible price for his prize asset, with time remaining to find an adequate replacement.
That is why there has been this talk of twenty million pounds. It’s not a completely unrealistic price for the player assuming his stellar development continues. It hints at stoking up a bidding frenzy and there’s no way that that can continue to deadline day.
I think today’s boardroom climate at SJP means that the high pressure of the sale and the big ticket price will ultimately prove too much for Ashley, Pardew and co. There are plenty of other clubs with much deeper pockets willing to take a punt on a striker who with time may eclipse even Van Nistelrooij and Van Persie. This afternoon, Liverpool have been linked with him, and that deal might make more sense given Twente’s interest in pushing for the highest price.
Football is a crazy game and with the new Premier League TV rights deal, there’s more money than ever going to the clubs and onto the players, so this transfer deal may have a crazy ending.
So unless De Jong stays at FC Twente until August, and Demba Ba has already left, it seems quite unlikely that De Jong will be plying his trade in black and white next season.
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