Luuk de Jong’s disappointing loan spell at Newcastle United in the second half of the 2013/14 season was not all his own fault. Questions should be asked of then-Magpies manager Alan Pardew, who decided that the targetman would be better suited in a number 10 role.
As such, he failed to score a goal, or even produce a shot on target, in 12 appearances for Newcastle.
However, his record before and after that brief spell on Tyneside perhaps offers another indication as to why things did not work out in England. De Jong’s goalscoring tally over the last seven seasons, during spells at FC Twente, Borussia Monchengladbach, Newcastle and PSV, reads; 20, 32, 8, 0, 26, 32, 9.
De Jong’s output fluctuates almost on an annual basis and his struggles last season for PSV were the clearest sign yet that the Dutchman is almost the archetypal confidence player.
A confidence player lacking in confidence
He skippered PSV to two straight Eredivisie titles in 2015 and 2016, producing some sensational centre-forward performances along the way. De Jong was not only a targetman but a real attacking outlet, an excellent link-man and an influential leader who stepped up impressively following the departure of talismen Memphis Depay and Gigi Wijnaldum in the summer of 2015.
However, after a sluggish start to last season, his form never truly recovered and his season rapidly went off the rails. De Jong snatched at chances he would usually take with aplomb and, as a result, manager Phillip Cocu dropped him in the latter stages of a disappointing season that saw PSV finish a distant third.
And, after flirting with the exit over the summer, De Jong has started just one league game this season.
Therefore, perhaps it is no surprise De Jong struggled at Newcastle. He arrived during a disastrous spell at Monchengladbach that left his reputation in tatters and a brief stint at Tyneside looked doomed from the beginning.