If there’s anyone who knows a good striker when he sees one then it’s Patrick Kluivert. The former Dutch international striker netted 40 times in 79 games for The Netherlands and at domestic level he banged in 200 goals for Ajax, Barcelona, Milan and of course Newcastle. Kluivert’s time at Newcastle may not have been a runaway success, as he stayed for just one year and in the 2004/05 season only scored six Premier League goals for the Magpies, but the Dutchman is recommending that the club move for his countryman, Luuk de Jong.
Now 35 years old, Patrick Kluivert is number two to Steve McClaren at FC Twente in The Netherlands and has been singing the praises of their striker De Jong and the potential that he has to succeed in English football. It’s no secret that Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has been in Holland in recent weeks to watch De Jong, amongst others in the Eredivisie, and his record certainly cannot be sniffed at.
Kluivert thinks he could take that record to the Premier League and told Sky Sports: “Luuk [de Jong] is going to be the No.1 striker for Holland in the very near future. He has everything a striker needs. Here at FC Twente we are grooming him for a future with one of Europe’s biggest clubs. He can become a European giant.’’ That is high praise from someone who has been there, done it and got the t-shirt.
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His manager, McClaren, similarly talks up his centre forward, saying: “Luuk is an ‘English style’ striker, made for English football. I am just desperate to keep him one more year in Holland. But I realise that will be difficult. Luuk is big, strong, brilliant in the air and scores goals so easily. He has every quality a top class striker needs to have for a big club.” Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t he?
A word of warning to Newcastle and other Premier League chasing De Jong expectedly comes from Twente president Joop Munsterman. Munsterman states: “We want to keep Luuk. He is a vital player if we want to win the championship again next season and when we play in Europe. We have said that we won’t go lower than £12.5m as a transfer fee. We need a top price for a top player.”
That’s a fair chunk of money for a 21-year-old, but his strike-rate isn’t far off a goal a game in the Eredivisie right now and if he goes to Euro 2012 and does well for The Netherlands, then that price tag will rocket. One thing’s for sure, there would be plenty of sell-on value for Luuk De Jong and if his glowing references from Kluivert and McClaren are anything to go by, then this boy is going to be a star, so he should be a star at Newcastle!