Steve Bruce must urge Newcastle United to re-sign Jetro Willems at the end of the season after the Eintracht Frankfurt defender was backed for a return to Tyneside.
While speaking with the Transfer Tavern, Daniel Pinder, the editor-in-chief at Get German Football News, claimed Willems has his heart set on returning to the Premier League with the Magpies.
Willems joined the Toon on loan for the 2019/20 campaign in a deal that carried an €11m (£9.5m) clause to buy the Dutchman, but plans were derailed after he sustained a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament rupture in January.
The left-back had been keen to secure a permanent stay in the North East before the devastating blow, but was denied the chance and moved back to Germany where he is yet to feature since returning to fitness.
Newcastle had explored a potential return for the 27-year-old during the winter market when contact was made with his agent, but opted against pursuing a deal as “Jetro hasn’t played enough” as Bruce would later confirm.
Yet a possible summer switch was not scrubbed from the cards as Willems will be out of contract in June and is refusing to sign a new contract at Deutsche Bank Park, and Pinder believes a deal is entirely possible.
“I think Newcastle is where he wants to be, and I’ve seen him like tweets from Newcastle fans on social media about a return,” he told TT. “He hasn’t really played for Eintracht Frankfurt this season as he’s down the pecking order behind the likes of [Filip] Kostic and Erik Durm.
“Obviously, his contract is up in the summer as well, so yeah, I think Newcastle will be the club for him.”
There are no guarantees of Newcastle re-signing the same player they saw during Willems’ time at St. James’ Park on loan if the Toon were to explore a summer swoop, but getting a full pre-season under his belt could see the left-back alleviate Bruce’s winter concerns.
Bruce was full of praise for Willems during the Dutchman’s five months in the North East that saw him score twice and offer three assists in 20 games across all competitions, noting via quotes by The Northern Echo:
“He was playing week in, week out and had done very well [before the injury], and his goals against [Manchester] City and Liverpool were there for everybody to see.”
The Shields Gazette’s Liam Kennedy also claimed on NUFC Matters: “He’s a player that really impressed a lot of people at the football club – not only with his performances, but his attitude.”
Bruce should now urge Newcastle to rely on those positive positions in the off-season with the Toon on the search for a new left-back at a time when funds are expected to be almost non-existent – surely making a free move for Willems all the more appealing to Mike Ashley.
The £2.5m-rated beast returned to fitness this January and has been named on the bench for 10 Bundesliga fixtures by Adi Hutter to date, and would likely have been given a chance to feature if it were not for Eintracht Frankfurt’s immense run of form.
After claiming 27 of a possible 51 points while Willems was in the treatment room, Die Adler have since taken 29 of a possible 39 – only runaway leaders Bayern Munich (32/39) have taken more since January 21.
It remains to be seen if he can get back onto the pitch before the season draws to a close next month, but that should not stop Bruce from making Willems a Newcastle player again if the chance arises.
AND in other news, an “absolutely awesome” Newcastle colossus is wanted in a £6m summer switch…