As the latest in a long line of Dutch talent tipped for a big money move to the Premier League, striker Luuk de Jong has become one of the hottest properties of this summer’s transfer market.
The FC Twente Enschede goal scorer has been linked with a number of clubs across Europe after an impressive season in Eredevisie but considering the hit and miss nature of so many one season wonders, is De Jong really worth the £15m his club are reportedly asking for?
At the relatively young age of 21, the Dutchman is already a full International having appeared 7 times for his country and opened his account with a goal against Finland during qualification for Euro 2012. Although the forward failed to make an appearance in Poland and Ukraine during his nation’s unceremonious exit, he has still shown his eye for goal at domestic level having scored 59 goals in 119 appearances for Twente. It remains to be seen if this early career goal surge justifies his price tag but club president Joop Munsterman told Eredevisie Live that the striker will not be leaving the club on the cheap.
“We don’t expect Luuk to leave the club. We will not let go of him for €15m. You have to reconsider when an insane off is made. You can think about €20m.”
A quick conversion from pounds to Euros tells us that Munsterman expects to sell his prized asset for around £15m. This may seem reasonable since over the last two seasons he’s earned a prolific record scoring 52 goals but De Jong is not the first player to fall fowl of a premature reputation when moving to a more competitive league. Middlesbrough fans will remember an underwhelming spell from Brazilian Afonso Alves when he joined from Heerenveen and more recently Fulham signed forward Bryan Ruiz from Twente but have yet to see any return on their investment. It remains to be seen whether De Jong will be the next Ruud van Nistelrooy or Mateja Kezman but his price tag certainly seems inflated given his limited experience and manager Steve McClaren believes he would be better served staying in Holland for at least another season.
“I would advise Luke to spend another year establishing himself in Holland doing it again, getting 25 or 30 goals and being a top striker, another year more mature, another year closer to the national team as he is in the squad now.”
A sensible suggestion from a manager whose reputation is far more glowing away from his homeland and De Jong would be wise to listen. He’s been linked with the likes of Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United and most recently Borussia Monchengladbach but only the latter two would guarantee him first team football. At such an important stage in his development it’s vital that he plays regularly rather than end up warming the bench in a more prestigious league. However clear cut and sensible his career path should be, unfortunately money talks in the modern game and De Jong’s agent Louis Laros has already started touting his employer to various European clubs. He told Voetbal International.
“We’ve made it clear to Twente that De Jong is ready for his next step.
“I hope that Twente do not lose sight of reality though, and demand only a fair market price.”
Naturally the player’s agent will hope a deal can be agreed smoothly but the onus is on prospective buyers to persuade Twente to sell, not Laros to promote his availability. His manager believes De Jong should stay, his chairman has inflated his price tag in the hope of keeping him and so far potential buyers like Newcastle have bulked at around £12m.
As it stands the player would be best served staying put, embellishing his CV with first team action and perhaps gaining more International experience to help his overall game. If and when the time does come for him to join a superior league he will be better prepared as the years go by and will have a much better chance of justifying his ever increasing price tag.
Do you think De Jong is worth the risk? Would you be happy if your club signed the Dutch striker?
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