Reports have emerged that the midfielder is nearing an exit from St. James’ Park after limited game time this season.
De Jong has suffered a torrid time on Tyneside since joining from Ajax in 2014, making just one Premier League start due to numerous long-term injuries, including a collapsed lung.
Whilst De Jong is slowly making his way back to full fitness, questions linger over whether he will be able to muscle himself into a starting role, or whether his prospects now lie elsewhere.
The former Ajax captain stated earlier this week that “a return to Holland is certainly an option”, as reported by The Chronicle.
McClaren has other plans, however, feeling that “unlucky” De Jong is simply “adjusting to the Premier League”.
The 54-year-old made no bones about where he sees De Jong’s future, telling the Chronicle: “I think his attitude is fantastic. We don’t want to let him go anywhere. We see him as a big player.”
With the Netherlands failing to qualify for Euro 2016, the incentive for De Jong to find immediate game time is not as intense as perhaps it would have been.
Well known to McClaren from his time in Eredivisie, the attacking midfielder lifted the league four times with Ajax, making 44 appearances in the Champions League and Europa League as well as earning six caps for the national team.
Yet despite this impressive résumé, it is clear after 12 games that McClaren is satisfied with the established attacking trio of Wijnaldum, Moussa Sissoko, and Ayoze Perez supporting striker Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Until a starting spot opens up at St. James’ Park, De Jong will continue to watch from the bench and make the occasional cameo.
A short-term loan move may work best for both parties. A simple return clause could allow De Jong to be recalled in case of an injury.
De Jong sorely needs competitive match practice, and Newcastle are not able to provide this at present.
A successful six-month loan spell could lead to a stronger, fitter and sharper De Jong returning to Tyneside in the summer, ready to finally back up the positive reputation he brought with him from Amsterdam.