Alan Pardew insists that Luuk de Jong will continue to be given time to earn a summer move to Newcastle United.
After a bright few weeks the Holland international appears to have gone backwards in home games against Crystal Palace and Everton, casting fresh doubts on his suitability for a summer move to St James’ Park.
The Journal understands that Borussia Mönchengladbach are looking to recoup at least half of the £12.6million they paid to FC Twente two years ago, when United were in the market for the 23-year-old.
It is understood that Pardew is pushing for the club to sign a new number ten, having identified that as a key role in the system that he would like Newcastle to play next term. De Jong is currently fulfilling that role and while Newcastle are looking at other alternatives, the forward represents a straightforward signing in the summer if they decide to push a deal through.
Pardew argues that De Jong has definite “pedigree” but admits that he needs to show more than he is currently exhibiting. The Holland forward has taken 11 shots in six appearances for Newcastle, only hitting the target with six – and his goalless run in England has now stretched to 473 minutes. “At the end of the year. I think our fans need to recognise where Luuk is,” he said.
“It’s very difficult for a player who has been at a club and not used after a big money move from Holland. He was a big player, a big personality who scored more goals in Holland than (Wilfried) Bony for example.
“He goes to Germany and it doesn’t work out, for whatever reason, I’m not blaming the club. But to get him back to where he was is a process and that’s the process he’s going through. Our fans need to give him a bit of time because there is definitely a pedigree there. That’s not my opinion, that’s pedigree proven in Dutch football.”
Part of De Jong’s problem is that he is clearly still feeling his way back into first-team football having been reduced to just two minutes of football in the Bundesliga this season.
“That’s the trouble, getting him back to match sharpness,” Pardew admitted. “Giving him games with the group we have got, giving him matches and putting more fitness into him on the training ground.
“At the end of this period he will have had three and a half months with us and he needs to be pretty close (if we are going to sign him.)”
Being realistic, however, Pardew
admits that de Jong needs to show more.
“I think it’s important his all-round game improves from where he is right now,” he said.
“But that will come from confidence and I can see him growing every day here.
“I know he likes the environment he has found himself in and players flourish when they start enjoying their football and hopefully he can start doing that again because he has had a tough time in Germany.”
Meanwhile, Tim Krul is facing potential heartache in his bid to become Holland’s number one in time for this summer’s World Cup.
He will miss the next three games – at least – after bruising his knee.
It is a timely opportunity for Rob Elliot to prove himself, with Newcastle sourcing potential goalkeeper targets.
“The second goal, Willo thumped him, he’s got a bruising of the knee. There is no structural problem so it’s not going to stop his World Cup participation. He’s going to be out for a couple of weeks because there is bruising on the bone.
“Yes, he wasn’t in the squad last time and we were all very surprised about that.
“It was a bit of a blow, but we’re hoping the last month of the season he can make it back in there.”