FC Cincinnati’s impressive offseason may continue as they close in on Ajax midfielder Siem de Jong. The creator would complete a reworked attacking unit.
FC Cincinnati have been very busy this winter, bringing in a host of a new talent. Jurgen Locadia was the latest acquisition as Cincinnati secured the striker for the near future, the center-forward taking up one of the Designated Player slots, while Yuya Kubo also arrives from European shores as another big-money DP investment.
And now it appears they are close to improving their offense yet again by bringing in Ajax’s Siem de Jong. The attacking midfielder is reported as joining on a loan spell but would be a major coup for a team that has almost entirely reworked its offensive personnel.
The 31-year-old Ajax playmaker has been a member of the Netherland’s club for a large part of his career. In 2014, he did leave for Newcastle United where he made 22 appearances in the Premier League but struggled to make a genuine impact due to consistent injury problems, and 2017, he returned to Ajax where he is still on the books.
This move shouldn’t come as a complete surprise. De Jong went on loan to the A-League in Australia for the 2018/19 season and Ajax have not utilized him very much during this season either — he has made only nine appearances in all competitions.
There, therefore, valid questions regarding his fitness and readiness at the professional level. A long time ago, de Jong was viewed as one of the premier creators in Dutch football and a substantial coup for Newcastle. But after a series of injury problems and the depreciating impact of age, his efficacy has declined significantly.
Nevertheless, despite these valid fitness and age-related concerns, de Jong boasts a wealth of experience and should be able to help FC Cincinnati immensely at the MLS level. He has played in one of the best leagues in the world and has been very effective when at his best Dropping down to North American soccer should be comfortable for him.
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His arrival would provide another creating and scoring option for Cincinnati. With Locadia and Kubo already at the club, FCC would have heavily invested in their offensive weapons with players that have enjoyed success in leagues that are more competitive than MLS — it is a very different approach to their team-building plan last winter when MLS experience was valued above all else.
If he is able to find good fitness and form, Cincinnati would boast an attacking trio that could rival some of the more prominent units in MLS. It might not be as dynamic as the South American-inspired counterparts, but it is a significant improvement on what they produced last season.
There is also the possibility that de Jong’s move could be made permanent. His contract ends in June and FCC would be within their rights to offer him a contract in the summer once his six-month loan is done. Investment in ageing European stars has declined this offseason across MLS, but when it comes to adding that little spark to complete a team, a player like de Jong is ideal.
FC Cincinnati, then, can expect to no longer flounder in last place in the Eastern Conference. They have built a competitive team, and de Jong will play his part.