[dropcap]N[/dropcap]ewcastle United’s defeat to West Ham last night compounded the Tyneside club to the bottom of the Premier League table, with Steve McClaren’s men not scoring in their last four games.
The North East outfit have a proud tradition of fielding attacking superstars, but since the historic days of Alan Shearer they have struggled to a considerable degree in the final third.
Over recent years, two Dutch brothers have stepped out for the St James’ Park side but added to the list of attacking players to fail to live up to their potential at the club.
Newcastle fans will hold little-to-no affinity with Netherlands international duo Luuk and Siem de Jong, with the former spending an underwhelming six-month spell at the club and the latter in the current squad but certainly not setting the world on fire.
Younger brother Luuk is fresh from a goal-laden season with PSV Eindhoven which culminated with the Eredivisie title last term, but the 25-year-old centre forward has had hot-and-cold form over the course of his career.
To accompany his recent stellar form in front of goal for PSV, the able attacker built up his reputation with three prolific years for Twente.
This also heralded an Eredivisie title, while the forward also has starred for his national under-21 side in the past.
However, moving overseas has not agreed with Luuk, who was expected to be a sensation at Borussia Mönchengladbach but ended up as a fringe player.
Signed on loan by Newcastle in January 2014 as a potential solution to a goal-shy attack, De Jong played 12 Premier League goals for the Tyneside club, scoring no goals and returning to Germany with his tail between his legs.
The fact that he had seen little-to-no Bundesliga action in the six months prior to switching to the Premier League side meant that the striker had very low confidence and also lacked match fitness – which played their part in a forgettable time in England.
Just as Luuk was returning to Germany and negotiating a move to PSV, his brother Siem was signed by Newcastle in his place to reinvigorate the team’s offensive options.
A supremely gifted attacking midfielder with a proven track record at Ajax, the older of the two De Jong brothers won four Eredivisie titles after graduating from the Amsterdam outfit’s world-famous youth academy.
Consistently one of the best players in the Dutch top flight, Siem was linked to major European sides over consecutive transfer windows and was seen as something of a coup when he moved to St James’.
Immediately named as the vice-captain of the club upon signing, the Dutchman was expected to be a major player for Newcastle last season but instead has been predominantly sidelined due to debilitating injuries.
De Jong’s time on the treatment table limited him to a mere four league outings last season, with this term acting as an opportunity for the Netherlands international to remind the footballing world of his ability.
McClaren has opted for countryman Georginio Wijnaldum in the number ten role so far this season instead of him, but there is certainly an argument to suggest that De Jong should be considered from the start in a team struggling for attacking inspiration.
It remains to be seen just what the remainder of the campaign holds for Siem, but he will possess extra motivation to succeed to make amends for the lack of an impact that his brother made before him.
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