STEVE McCLAREN last night insisted Newcastle United would have to pay “stupid money” if they wanted to lure FC Twente striker Luuk de Jong to St James’ Park.
The Dutch club’s manager is desperate to keep his main goalscorer for one more season and told his bosses that he wouldn’t sell him for any price, if the decision were solely down to him.
The Magpies now face a vital 48 hours as they bid to tie up at least two new players before the first-team report back for pre-season training on July 5.
Newcastle managing director Derek Llambias and club secretary Lee Charnley will hold talks today with FC Twente about de Jong who would cost the club at least £10million.
But if McClaren gets his way that figure could easily stretch to £12million – a massive fee that harks back to the club’s big spending days of five years ago.
Newcastle also hope that a deal can also be completed for £6million-rated Lille fight-back Mathieu Debuchy during this crucial period, with another FC Twente player, Brazilian centre-back Douglas,
Both names will be familiar to Newcastle fans as they have been long-time targets of United boss Alan Padrew.
However. the capture of de Jong, 21, would be a real coup as he is viewed as one of the best young strikers in European football.
But former England and Middlesbrough manager McClaren was adamant that the United would need to break the bank to land his prized asset.
And that their party would not be allowed to simply walk into his club and then walk out again with their best player. McClaren said: “The club know what I think about it. Luuk de Jong would stay if it were up to me, unless stupid money is offered.
“Only since the winter of last season has Luuk been playing as a No 9.
“He must have at least one full season playing as a real striker to become a top player at a big club.”
Newcastle manager Pardew believes De Jong to be a top player already, hence the delegation from Tyneside who were dispatched to Holland yesterday evening. De Jong was part of Holland’s Euro 2012 squad but did not feature, is capable of playing as a central striker or in a wider role.
Borussia Mönchengladbach have also been linked with a bid of £8.5m for the player who scored 59 goals in 119 games for FC Twente, and who he joined in 2009 from De Graafschap.
In stark contrast to De Jong’s tournament, the 26-year-old Debuchy played in all four of France’s games in Ukraine and Poland, which only enhanced his reputation.
Lille head coach Rudi Garcia admitted that Debuchy wanted to leave, but any deal would only go through once the club found a replacement.
Speaking on French radio, Garcia said: “Mathieu wants to go. But we do not have a plan for him to leave, so he will not go unless I find a replacement of the same level.
“And he is a international player, he will not go cheap – we will need to bring in a right-sided player of the same calibre, and that requires a lot of money.
“If we find a player, it will cost us and we will have to pay that.
“Mathieu is one of my leaders, one of my major players and he is an example to follow.
“I understand his desire to leave, but we must find a replacement – my role is not to put my team in jeopardy.”