Newcastle United considering free summer transfer of Eintracht Frankfurt defender Jetro Willems
According to the Sunderland Echo, Newcastle United are weighing a move to bring Eintracht Frankfurt defender Jetro Willems back to St. James’ Park on a free transfer this summer.
Willems is set to leave his Bundesliga outfit at the end of the season with his contract due to expire next month, having rejected an offer to extend his terms at Deutsche Bank Park (Chronicle Live).
The Dutch full-back is yet to play a single second under Adi Hutter this term after recovering from surgery on the cruciate knee ligament rupture that cut short his time on Tyneside, after sustaining the issue in his 20th Magpies appearance during a season-long loan spell.
Newcastle could offer Willems a return to the Premier League when the summer window opens, as United have placed the 27-year-old under consideration as they begin targeting free transfers in response to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Question marks also persist over the long-term future of Matt Ritchie at St. James’ Park and it is suggested Toon boss Steve Bruce will speak with the 31-year-old, who is under contract through to 2023, to discuss his plans for the versatile Scotsman.
The Toon made contact with Willems’ agent in December to check on the 22-cap defender’s fitness ahead of a potential winter transfer (Chronicle), but decided against pursuing a deal at the time with Bruce later claiming: “Jetro hasn’t played enough” (Shields Gazette).
Newcastle held an €11million (£9.4m) option to purchase Willems from Eintracht Frankfurt as part of their loan agreement (Northern Echo) last season, but will have been glad they decided against activating the clause given his spell on the sidelines and lack of game time.
But United fans would undoubtedly still love to have Willems back at St. James’ Park next season if he can prove his fitness, as some supporters clamoured for the defender’s return amid suggestions the Toon were considering a deal in November and again in January.
The adulation Magpies supporters have for Willems is hardly surprising given he shared an excellent relationship with their talismanic forward Allan Saint-Maximin (Chronicle), and helped Bruce to get the most out of the French wing wizard through his all-round game.
There are no guarantees that Willems is still the same player after more than a year out of commission, but a free transfer represents little risk when the known upsides are so evident.