Could Newcastle United have their new Gini Wijnaldum in Ritsu Doan? The Eredivisie midfielder is reportedly a target for the Premier League club.
FC Groningen are under no illusions that keeping hold of Ritsu Doan could be a big challenge.
The 20-year-old Japan international has blossomed into one of the most influential midfielders in the Eredivisie over the last few months, scoring four times and providing two assists for a club who appear set for a relegation battle.
The Chronicle reports that Newcastle United have sent scouts to watch Doan in action in recent weeks, while Manchester City have also been keeping tabs on the former Gamba Osaka man, who is a joy to watch with his creativity and long-range shooting.
It just so happens that Groningen CEO Hans Nijland admitted earlier on Wednesday, in an interview with Voetbal International, that Doan could be on his way in the January transfer window.
“We have noticed a growing interest in him from other clubs, which is logical of course, and that there is a moment when we cannot keep him, everybody understands,” Nijland said.
“I cannot give guarantees that he will not leave in the winter break.”
The Chronicle adds that Doan has a price tag of just £1.7 million, but Groningen will surely demand far more for a player who manager Danny Buijs has likened to a young Robin van Persie and, interestingly, the former Newcastle midfielder Gini Wijnaldum.
Buijs also believes Doan, who was nominated for the prestigious Golden Boy award this year, has the talent to replace the mercurial Hakim Ziyech at Ajax.
“He can take the place of Hakim Ziyech when he leaves. At this moment, Doan is perhaps not as good as Ziyech, but he has that potential. He just gets better,” Buijs told VI.
“Who is he similar to? I find that difficult. In childhood I played with Robin van Persie and later with Georginio Wijnaldum. I dare say that Doan is at comparable level with his boys at that age.”