AFTER days of expecting it to happen, last night it did for Daryl Janmaat. The Holland defender has officially become a Newcastle United player and has claimed the Dutch invasion of St James’ Park can help him adapt quickly to the Premier League.
The right-back, who replaced Mathieu Debuchy after he completed his £12m Arsenal move, spent the early part of the week on Tyneside passing a medical and agreeing personal terms on a six-year contract before heading away on a post-World Cup holiday. He will start training with the first team squad after the Magpies’ pre-season trip to New Zealand next week.
Despite arriving from Feyenoord in a £5m deal, Janmaat should have no problems settling in because of the friends and compatriots he already has in the Newcastle squad. His arrival takes the number of Dutchmen in Alan Pardew’s squad to four, with Siem De Jong, Tim Krul and Vurnon Anita already around.
For a club that has become more associated with signing French players in recent years, Janmaat thinks a healthy contingent of men from the Netherlands can help Newcastle to deliver in the Premier League next season.
“I spoke a few times with Tim when we were at the World Cup about coming to Newcastle and he has been here for ten years so he knows it well,” said Janmaat. “It's nice to know that Siem has joined too and that there are more Dutch players around me, there’s four now. It's nearly more than the French! Now it's a Dutch invasion.
“My opinion of Newcastle was good when I first spoke with them and it's a club moving forward. It has a marvellous stadium and everything feels right. I knew in the last two weeks of the World Cup about it, so I was thinking about it. I spoke to Newcastle afterwards and had a good feeling.”
The lure of playing in the English top-flight was what convinced Janmaat to walk away from a possible Champions League campaign with Feyenoord to sign for the Magpies. Feyenoord will be in the third qualifying round draw on Friday after finishing second behind Ajax.
Janmaat was a key part of that success story. Daley Blind, the Ajax man, was the only defender to have created more chances than Newcastle’s new man in the Eredivisie last season, which is what fans on Tyneside will be looking to see next season.
“I hope I bring what I did at Feyenoord to Newcastle,” he said. “I am a defender but I like to go up and get in crosses so I'm more than a right-back.
“I’m just really looking forward to playing in front of the Newcastle fans. The fans are similar to the Feyenoord fans. I like those. It excites me to have come to the Premier League, of course. It's one of the best in Europe and everyone wants to play in it.
“Firstly my aim is to play as much as possible and then maybe European football can be a target in the future. That would be fantastic. I could have stayed at Feyenoord, but Newcastle is much bigger. Feyenoord are a big club but the Dutch league is not as big as the Premier League.”
Since emerging on to the scene at Ado Den Haag in 2007, Janmaat has made solid progress. He had four years at Heerenveen from 2008 before moving to De Kuip as a free agent in the summer of 2012. His performances there caught the eye of Louis van Gaal and he ended up flying with Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben to Brazil this summer, where Holland lost on penalties in the semi-final to Argentina.
“The World Cup was a big experience for me,” he said. “We did very well and did a great job. Nobody expected us to do so well. It was amazing, not only the football but the whole country.
“To hold it in Brazil was fantastic. I am a little bit tired, it was a great experience. To beat Spain 5-1 was a special moment. I can go on vacation for a week and then I start training. We have already seen a house we like, my wife has found one already.”