Newcastle are in pole position to land Dutch striker Luuk De Jong from Borussia Monchengladbach in a deal worth up to £8.5 million in the next few days, as reported by the Daily Star's Jason Mellor:
Newcastle hope to have De Jong signed in time to make his debut at Norwich on Tuesday, though the clubs could push through a loan with a view to a permanent deal to beat the clock and ensure the transfer is successfully completed this month.
Delaying the transfer until the summer and bringing De Jong in on loan appears to be the Toon Army's preferred option according to Scott Wilson at the Northern Echo:
Mellor reports that Papiss Cisse was initially considered as part of the transfer, however it looks likely that it will now be a lump sum with add-ons:
The Bundesliga side wanted Toon outcast Papiss Cisse as part of a player-plus-cash deal - but the Senegal international wasn’t interested in the move.
Gladbach want £7m up front for a player who cost them almost £13m less than 12 months ago. The rest of the deal will be made up of incentive-based add-ons but still comes to less than the £10m Newcastle offered FC Twente for the Dutchman last summer.
The Dutch striker had an unspectacular first season with Gladbach after signing for a club record fee, with transfermarkt.co.uk recording that he managed just six league goals throughout the last campaign.
This led to Gladbach manager Lucien Favre signing Max Kruse and Raffael in the summer to lead the line, meaning that De Jong has played a bit-part role in Gladbach's impressive season so far.
De Jong has made just 13 appearances in the Bundesliga this term, all of which have been as a substitute late in the game. It is therefore unsurprising to hear that he has failed to find the back of the net in the 85 minutes he has featured this season.
De Jong himself has fuelled speculation that he will soon be leaving Gladbach after a falling out with manager Lucien Favre. As reported by Chris Davie at Goal.com earlier in the month, De Jong said:
"The coach does not give me the impression that he wants to build with me. He does not talk to me much. It was a half [season] to forget."
When asked if he would be exiting the club during the January transfer window, he said:
I can imagine so. The coach will not change much in the second half of the season. [I usually played] for three or five minutes. That's no fun. I want to play more.
The 23-year-old Dutch international has three goals in seven appearances for the Netherlands, however, he hasn't featured for the national team in over a year.
After helping FC Twente to the Eredivisie in 2009-10 as a teenager, De Jong became a key player for the Dutch side, scoring 12 league goals in 2010-11 and finishing joint top goalscorer with 25 goals in 2011-12, per transfermarkt.co.uk.
His impressive form in front of goal secured a move to Bundesliga outfit Gladbach in the summer of 2012 to help fill the void left by Marco Reus, who had switched to Borussia Dortmund.
So what type of striker could Newcastle be getting? According to Bundesliga Fanatic co-editor, Aleix Gwilliam:
De Jong is a player who excels with his head and in aerial play. [He] is an area striker who needs the ball inside the area to create any sort of trouble for the opposition.
If the deal goes through, Newcastle will be hoping that De Jong rediscovers his goalscoring touch and can make as big an impact as Papiss Cisse did when he switched from the Bundesliga to the Premier League last January.
Whether Cisse and De Jong will get any game time together remains to be seen, however, as Cisse is reportedly keen to leave the North East club after falling down the pecking order, according to Chris Richards at the Mirror.
The most likely option would be for De Jong to partner Loic Remy, with Newcastle either utilising a front two or Remy playing just off the tall striker.