Last January, when Liverpool was in desperate need of goals, it was Newcastle that snapped up Papiss Demba Cisse to give them a final push towards a top five position. Even before Cisse scored 13 goals in 14 games, I was astounded that we didn't make any attempt to sign him. And it isn't like the performance came out of nowhere either-before moving to Newcastle Cisse had already bagged 9 goals in 17 league games with SC Freiburg. While Liverpool management were gawking at an unavailable Darren Bent, Newcastle saw a 26-year old bargain on the cusp of potential stardom and acted accordingly.
A sign of bad management is when a team makes the same mistake more than once. While letting Cisse slip away in January was disappointing, it is important to correct the mistake this summer by finding a quality goalscorer at a similarly low price. Essentially we need a poacher who can finish off smooth tiki-taka moves in the box with both his head and his feet, but won't be unwilling to move to a team that isn't playing Champions League football.
A player that seems absolutely perfect for us is forward Luuk de Jong of FC Twente. Only 21 years old, De Jong scored 32 goals last season with 25 of those coming in the Eredivisie. De Jong is the perfect player to play in a tiki-taka system because of his versatility. He is quick and agile in his moves and on the dribble allowing him to play on the wings if needed, but has the aerial ability and poacher mentality to play as a striker. Because he is only 21, Brendan Rodgers could easily adapt him to a quick passing game where his weak-foot abilities could suit him nicely. If he is able to get a bit stronger and improve his mental concentration, we could be looking at a player who scores over 20 goals every season.
In a way, De Jong's situation is an exaggerated version of the situation when Luis Suarez left Ajax to come to Liverpool. Like Ajax, Twente know that they won't be able to dull their young striker's dreams of playing on a bigger stage, and might want to cash in sooner rather than later. So far, I've been seeing valuations of De Jong at anywhere from 8-15M depending on the source, which seems like a total bargain.
But yet again, Newcastle are leading the pack in an attempt to sign the goal poacher. Recently, ESPN Soccernet reported that "earlier this week reports had suggested that Newcastle had tabled an £8 million bid." The report goes on to say that Twente are holding out for 12.5 million, still a bargain if you ask me.
If De Jong is willing to sign with Newcastle, then wouldn't he be willing to sign with Liverpool? I say we swoop in and start the summer off with a bang. Let's not make the same mistake twice.