There was a recent claim that Newcastle were not looking to bring Jetro Willems back this summer. The 27-year-old will become a free agent after his deal at Frankfurt expires later this month.
However, a left-back may not be on the docket this summer at St. James’ Park. If Matt Ritchie remains a Magpie, then that would give Bruce two excellent options at left wing-back with the 31-year-old battling it out with Jamal Lewis.
While Ritchie will turn 32 in September, he was outstanding in our final 9 matches where our season was turned around. So having his passion and leadership around for at least another season would be a popular outcome.
If Ritchie does end up moving, as he almost did in January to his former club Bournemouth, then left-back comes into play as a priority position. Though, we’ll likely have a replacement already brought in before a move away for Ritchie would be sanctioned.
Willems would be welcomed back with open arms. However, he’s not kicked a ball competitively since suffering his knee injury in January of 2020. Due to stringent post-Brexit transfer rules, the Dutchman could find it difficult to acquire a work permit.
Newcastle should have targets identified for the different scenarios that could play out this summer. That’s where a report from L’Equipe becomes intriguing. Get French Football News is citing a claim from the French outlet that Brest left-back Romain Perraud (pictured above) is being tracked by the Magpies.
The 23-year-old is coming off a stellar season for Brest, who just avoided relegation from Ligue 1 with a 17th place finish. The former Nice Academy product had 3 goals while providing 7 assists in 36 appearances.
In January of this year, he signed a new contract to 2025 which gives Brest some security should any club come knocking. According to L’Equipe, Newcastle, Leeds, and Southampton are all very interested in Perraud with the Saints reportedly leading the chase.
The problem for Newcastle is Perraud would cost a significant fee in the £8-12m range. Even if Newcastle sell Ritchie, the fee brought in would likely cover less than half of that amount.
With such a limited budget this summer, Newcastle will have to get creative to bring in any quality signings. It may also serve the club well to retain as many players as possible for at least next season.
Based on the following departure list published by the Premier League, that could be what Newcastle have decided to do. According to this list, the only senior players who won’t be retained are Andy Carroll, Christian Atsu, and Henri Saivet.
While it’s not official, Newcastle may be keeping Federico Fernandez and Dwight Gayle around next season. Both players are on contracts that expire at the end of the month while it’s been reported that Paul Dummett and Fabian Schar both have had year-long extensions triggered.
It could be another conservative window for Newcastle with the only hope of change coming by way of a successful resurrection of the Saudi-backed takeover. Though Mike Ashley’s pending dual legal battles could extend well into next season.
However, a source within St. James’ Park has revealed that our want-away owner remains convinced he’ll be vindicated in his attempt to get the takeover resurrected and even completed this summer. That is at least what Ken Lawrence claims in an exclusive in the The Sun.
In his report, Lawrence has published the following quote from a ‘source inside the club’:
“Mike Ashley is certain he’ll win his case.
“He has told the consortium to have their money ready to complete in a month.”
Hope springs eternal though after what we suffered through last summer, our optimism remains quite low. We’ll hopefully find out more in the coming weeks with Ashley’s anti-competition case against the league scheduled to get underway next Friday.