Dutch International Final Piece of The Survival Jigsaw?
In comparison to the summer, the January transfer period has seen very little attempted activity from Newcastle in the Netherlands. Although there have been claims of interest in three Dutch players, nothing concrete has happened with one week left before the window closes.
The reason for this is unsurprising: in comparison with France there is little value to be had in the Dutch market. The Dutch league has become such a selling league, that as soon as Premiership clubs show an interest in Eredivisie players, pound signs appear in their eyes, and common sense seemingly heads out of the window.
The most surprising of the claims was an apparent interest in Ajaciad Siem de Jong. The older brother of Luuk, for whose signature Newcastle lost out to Moenchengladbach in the summer, Siem has established himself at the heart of an Ajax squad that is busy re-establishing itself as the Dutch top club after years of turmoil.
The rumour of a Newcastle interest surfaced just before the important Feyenoord derby game. After hammering the Rotterdammers 3-0, De Jong seemed to pledge his immediate future to the Amsterdam club in their pursuit of their third Eredivisie title in a row.
De Jong, a talented midfielder who is good at scoring goals, would fit well into Newcastle and certainly bring out the best in Vurnon Anita. But as captain of a club on the up, with time to make choices, a rushed move to Tyneside seems a step too far.
The least surprising rumours surrounded a player already extensively linked with NUFC, namely Douglas France Teixeira, Twente’s volatile if skilful centre half. FC Twente announced immediately upon the opening of the window that they were prepared to work towards a transfer of Douglas.
But two things stand in the way of his exit. The first is a problem of finding a replacement for the defender. Malmo centre half Pontus Jansson was the Tukkers preferred choice, but with that now seemingly ruled out, Munsterman may feel it makes sense to wait to the summer.
The other problem is the irresponsible clauses in Douglas’s contract that see two-thirds of any fee pass to the player and his agents. Reading between the lines, Twente are prepared to work on a transfer if Douglas and friends are prepared to forego rights to a lucrative slice of the fee, and that remains unlikely.
The final transfer rumour is for former Vitesse and FC Utrecht player Ricky van Wolfswinkel, now plying his trade in Sporting Club of Lisbon. A proven goalscorer for all three of his professional clubs, he has been the one highlight in a disappointing 2012-13 season for the 18-times Primeira Liga winner.
Van Wolfswinkel has a strong record in European competition and was part of the FC Utrecht side that drubbed Celtic 4-0 in 2010. A versatile player who specialises in scoring for clubs that are not playing particularly well, he seems to be precisely what we need to pull us out of the rut of the last 4 months.
Recently selected for the Dutch national side, Van Wolfswinkel’s continued maturation led Voetbal Internationaal to describe him yesterday as a player definitely ready to take the step up into the ‘big leagues’. Whilst not working actively towards a transfer, his agent is giving strong indications that Sporting’s problems might be an ideal reason for him to take that step.
The stumbling block is the price. Sporting have set a tag of about £10m on Van Wolfswinkel, and Portuguese press sources are reporting scepticism that Newcastle will pay. That’s a decent enough return for the club for a player that cost less than £4m eighteen months ago, and should be enough for them to find a replacement. It compares favourably with the price we paid for Cisse last year, but the question is whether the club will stump up the cash given the bargains seemingly available just over the Channel.
The latest rumours are linking other clubs in similar positions, including Norwich, with the Sporting player, and they be more willing than our board to pay the asking price. But at just 23 and with clear sell on potential, £10m seems a small price to pay to ensure Premiership survival (see video below).
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