Siem De Jong looks set to return to where it all began. According to De Telegraaf, the former Ajax captain is in talks over an emotional return to the Amsterdam ArenA – bringing an end to three distressing years as a Newcastle United player.
The attacking midfielder arrived at St James’ Park with four successive Eredivisie crowns on his CV and had proven himself against English opposition on Europe’s biggest stage, destroying Manchester City in the Champions League.
However, thanks to a relentless series of injuries, De Jong has gone from one of the game’s most talented young midfielders to being rather washed up at the age of 28. He made just 22 appearances in two years in England, spent last season on loan at PSV, and a return to the Eredivisie undoubtedly represents a backwards step.
Nonetheless, you could hardly criticise De Jong, who honed his trade in Ajax’s famed youth academy, from being lured home this summer – even with an offer from the English Championship on the table.
According to De Telegraaf, Reading had agreed a fee with Newcastle of around £2 million and were willing to pay De Jong a far higher wage packet than he would receive at Ajax over three seasons.
Reading, managed by fellow Dutchman and former Ajax icon Jaap Stam, lost to Huddersfield Town in the play-off final last season and would have hoped that De Jong’s intelligence, leadership and eye for goal could inspire them to go one better this season.
However, in this era of mercenaries, money-grabbers and snake emojis, it makes a refreshing chance to see De Jong reject a hefty pay packet to follow his heart.