Ex-Magpie Jetro Willems is still on the road to recovery from the knee injury he suffered in January. The left-back had his loan spell at Newcastle cut tragically short last season. Ultimately, that injury prevented him from becoming a permanent member of the squad, at least for now.
Newcastle likely would have triggered Jetro’s purchase option at some point last season had he not suffered the injury. He is now in the final year of his contract with Frankfurt with his future in doubt.
Willems could be getting close, however, to making a triumphant return to the pitch with Frankfurt. The Chronicle has interviewed Christopher Michel, who covers Frankfurt for Sport1 in Germany.
The reporter has revealed that Willems could make his return soon after this international break is over. Here is what he said about Jetro’s timeline for a return:
“It will take time.
“I am often at Eintracht Frankfurt training and three weeks ago he was still training with a blue safety jersey and players weren’t allowed to tackle him.
“In a press conference about four weeks ago I asked Willems if he could replace (Filip) Kostic who has been missing the last five weeks but he said no, he has to get fully fit first and has to recover so it is hard to say when he will return.
“Maybe after the international break, he could slowly be an option to come on after an hour or for 20 minutes.”
Willems will likely be slowly worked back into the fold with Frankfurt. However, Adi Hütter remains the manager and he used Jetro sparingly in his first season at the helm in 2018-19. He handed Willems just 7 league starts before sanctioning the loan move to Newcastle.
So whether Jetro can get more playing time after a serious injury is highly questionable. Michel believes the Dutchman will have difficulty breaking into this Frankfurt team. He thinks it’s only a matter of time before Jetro will have to find a new club.
“I don’t think Willems still has a great future in Frankfurt but, in my opinion, he really could help because Eintracht doesn’t really have a left-back and Willems is a good player.
“So far it hasn’t suited between him and the manager, Adi Hutter, and I have some doubts over whether that will change.
“I think Willems will either leave the club in winter for a small amount of money or he will switch to another club for free in the summer.
“I don’t believe Willems really has a future in Frankfurt but next week they have a friendly match against Nurnberg and we hope Hutter will try Willems and maybe he can tell the coach: ‘Hey, here I am.’
“Realistically, though, I don’t think Willems and Frankfurt will be together in the summer.
“If Willems finds a new club it is going to be Newcastle or his old club PSV Eindhoven.
“He often posts photos of him in Eindhoven so I think his next club will be Newcastle if they still want him.
“I think Willems prefers a move to Newcastle but, if not, I think Eindhoven is the next realistic station for him.”
Jetro has made it crystal clear he wants to return to Newcastle. The question will be whether Newcastle want to bring another left-back on board with Jamal Lewis clearly the future at the position.
However, getting Willems in next summer on a free would be some decent business. He can cover in the midfield and play further up the pitch as a winger. So maybe there’s still hope Jetro will be a Magpie once again.