Siem de Jong’s time on Tyneside has not exactly gone according to plan.
Signed in the summer of 2014 with a solid reputation, Pardew was ready to build his team around the Dutchman and made him vice-captain heading into the new season.
Having missed the league opener against Manchester City because of a calf injury, de Jong made his Premier League debut as a 70th minute substitute against Aston Villa and went on to start against Crystal Palace the following week.
And then, the first of a series of freak injuries.
Early in September, de Jong tore his groin whilst kicking a ball in training and was sidelined for nearly six months, then, just as he was about to return to action in February of the next year, the former Ajax captain suffered a collapsed lung, ruling him out for an additional eight weeks.
Probably not how he envisioned his first year panning out.
His opportunites were limited early during the 15/16 season, with the partnership of Perez and Mitro thriving. After the goals started drying up for the duo, de Jong was given his chance, paired up front with Cisse at home to Liverpool in the beginning of December.
He then went on to start the Magpies’ following two matches, but, despite playing reasonably well, he didn’t manage to score in any of the three.
Perhaps it would’ve been different if he had put away that sitter against Villa, one he would probably score nine times out of ten. Unfortunately, he didn’t, and was subsequently dropped.
Not much was heard from de Jong for the rest of the year – other than nearly losing his sight having been poked in the eye during training – as Newcastle dropped into the Championship.
Rafa decided to loan out de Jong to PSV for the entire 16/17 season, wanting him to get consistent minutes. Unfortunately for de Jong, he didn’t particularly suit the Dutch side’s preferred 4-3-3 formation and mostly appeared off the bench. Still, he managed six goals in nine starts as he helped them to a 3rd place finish.
De Jong now returns to Newcastle, dare I say it, ‘like a new signing’. The no. 10 position is very much up for grabs with Perez and Diame both coming off rather disappointing seasons.
If he can stay fit, de Jong’s leadership qualities, quality on the ball and overall footballing intelligence can bring something different to the side.
Hopefully de Jong can rediscover his Ajax form – the form that had many fans excited about his arrival – and help Newcastle in their return to the Premier League.