De Jong addition signals Newcastle change
When Newcastle United sign players it often comes out of the blue, with no prior speculation and few rumours. That was the case on Tuesday night when they announced the signing of Ajax captain Siem De Jong for a fee of around £7.5million.
De Jong, the brother of recent Newcastle loanee Luuk, is a welcome and much needed addition to Newcastle's playing squad and is the third permanent Magpies signing of the summer following Ayoze Perez and a Jack Colback in through the Gallowgate door.
De Jong scored three goals in two Champions League games against Manchester City in 2012-13 and is highly rated in his homeland. It is surprising that he only has six international caps to date, especially when you consider that his brother has seven! He will help to provide some much needed creativity to the Newcastle side -- something badly lacking since the January sale of Yohan Cabaye to PSG. De Jong should also be able to help with on-pitch leadership (he captained Ajax to four Eredivisie titles) -- another area in which the Magpies have struggled of late.
De Jong spoke about the club's lofty ambitions of reaching the Champions League -- a realistic goal or something that might be spoken about to lure new signings to the club? Almost everyone reading this will believe it to be a pipe dream, unachievable unless Newcastle's billionaire owner changes his approach to running the football club. It looks even less likely, even in the medium-to-long-term, when you consider that Newcastle have finished 30 and 32 points off fourth place in the last two seasons.
Still, there is nothing wrong with ambition. I wonder if Hatem Ben Arfa still harbours ambition of winning the Ballon d'Or?
Speaking of Ben Arfa, it is unlikely the Newcastle support will get to see the Frenchman play for their club again. The club are keen to offload Ben Arfa and have also been actively touting the availability of centre half Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa who might well feel that he's never really been given a chance at the club.
Additional rumours suggest that Mathieu Debuchy could be Arsenal bound (he removed any mention of Newcastle from his Twitter bio on Thursday causing minor panic among some, although it doesn't refer to the fact that he's French either -- though I'm fairly certain he still is!) and that Moussa Sissoko would be keen on leaving Tyneside as he doesn't like the climate.
These are nothing more than rumours at this moment in time, but they are strong ones and I would not be at all surprised if both players were to go. If they are sold, this makes an even greater mockery of the Champions League talk.
Other players are being linked with joining Newcastle including Daryl Janmaat, a possible Debuchy replacement and another Dutchman. Is the Netherlands the new France for the Newcastle's scouting team? Are they swapping one nation famed for fall-outs among international teammates with another? We will find out soon enough.
If it brings Newcastle's 'French Revolution' to an end, will it be considered to have been a success?
In terms of league and cup performance, absolutely not, but with hefty profits likely on Debuchy and Sissoko as well as the £12million profit already recouped on Cabaye, I'm pretty sure owner Mike Ashley's accountant will think otherwise.