Mike Ashley has apparently approved Steve Bruce’s plan to get some signings through the door early this summer. With the window officially opening on Wednesday, June 9th, hopefully, Newcastle have been making progress on some of their targets.
There have been quite a few of them with a plethora of center-halves and midfielders linked over the past few weeks. There have also been reports that Bruce has been sounding out a few potential targets like Leicester City’s Hamza Choudhury.
Josh King has jumped to the top of Bruce’s wishlist with the recent revelation that he’ll become a free agent next month. The 29-year-old has been linked with Newcastle for years and was considered a top target last summer before Bruce went all-in on Bournemouth teammate Callum Wilson.
Everton have opted against a new deal for the pacy forward which makes him a tantalizing proposition for the Magpies this summer. Newcastle will reportedly meet with King within the next few weeks.
Bruce is not expected to be backed with much of a transfer budget, so free agents and loan signings will be high on the agenda. So we could see one big permanent deal like Celtic’s Kristoffer Ajer mixed with a couple of free agents and loanees. However, it’s vital that they improve the squad and are not brought in to make up the numbers.
One free agent that would likely jump at the chance to sign for Newcastle is former Magpie Jetro Willems. The 27-year-old has given an interview with The Chronicle where he stated the following about a return to Tyneside:
“I had a great time at Newcastle and for me, I want something else. I had a good time in Germany and won some titles and some nice things but I wanted something else.
“Of course Newcastle is a very nice option for me. I was there for a long time – like, half a year – and I was enjoying the moment there. It’s a great option and it’s a club which knows me, I know them. It would be great to join them.
“To be honest I don’t know where everything stands right now. I told my agent – I’m at CAA Base now, a UK agency – I want to go on vacation first and then when I come back I’ll speak about clubs, the clubs he has interested and what is going on.
“I was building up strength in my knee and just recovery and everything – training for half a year so I think it’s now two years since I had a vacation. We both agreed to have a little holiday and re-assess when I come back.”
There have been recent reports that Newcastle are not after another left-back in this window. With Matt Ritchie and Jamal Lewis as left wing-back options, it makes sense to concentrate on other areas of need.
There’s also the issue with Willems not having played for the past 18 months. He’s been fit since December but after turning down an extension with Frankfurt in January, he was not utilized during the second half of last season.
This is what Jetro had to say about his fitness and his frustration with not playing last season:
“It hasn’t been easy all this time but I’ve been ready to play since December.
“I was in the squad (at Eintracht Frankfurt) for half a year – obviously I didn’t get the chance to show myself and to play for some reasons and everyone knows what they are.
“But I’m feeling good, my knee is really good and everything feels great. I’m ready.”
While Newcastle may be comfortable bringing him in based on his previous time with the club, a potential issue arises with the post-Brexit transfer rules on foreign players. Willems may not be granted a work permit due to his lack of appearances.
It could be a long summer for the Dutchman as he hunts for a new club. If Ritchie ends up leaving as he almost did in January, it would be worth trying to get Jetro back to Newcastle.