Not long to wait now, with the Newcastle United summer transfer window kicking off on Wednesday.
Premier League clubs then having until 11pm on Tuesday 31 August to complete their business.
It has been…’interesting’ to see the reporting of this upcoming Newcastle United summer transfer window.
Journalists putting out stories insisting that there will be a pittance available to spend, with Steve Bruce having to rely on free transfers and loans for the vast majority of any business.
Then the very same journalists writing articles claiming that Newcastle United are seriously interested in chasing the £20m / £30m / £40m signing of an ever growing list of players.
On the eve of the Newcastle United summer transfer window, the latest report sees the Chronicle claiming that a free transfer and loan deal could be set to happen as NUFC’s first two deals of the window.
Arsenal paid £25m for an 18 year old William Saliba from Saint Etienne after he had made only 19 first team appearances for the French club, the Gunners fighting off other Premier League clubs for the signature.
Saliba instantly loaned back to Saint Etienne for the 2019/20 season, then it was off to Nice for the second half of last (2020/21) season on loan. Arsenal keen on the young centre-back to get first team football and the player making 36 more first team appearances in these two loan spells.
Now moving into the third season of his five year contract you would imagine Arsenal will want to see the young defender now get Premier League experience and the Chronicle say that Newcastle have been scouting William Saliba during his loan spells in France over the course of these last two seasons, with a move to arrange a loan deal with Arsenal now likely.
Arsenal will be well happy with Newcastle United after they more than doubled Joe Willock’s value despite Steve Bruce giving him only 11 Premier League starts, so fair to say that Gunners will see St James Park as decent possibility for Saliba’s next stage of development.
For some time now it has been reported that Newcastle want to add some youth and pace into the mix of their centre-backs, so no surprise if this summer this at last happens, plenty of decent centre-back options as things stand at Newcastle but to an extent all very similar with plenty of ‘experience’ but little pace.
As for a free transfer to help get the Newcastle United summer transfer window, the local media have spoken to Jetro Willems and he has made clear his position, the Dutch defender telling the Chronicle:
“Newcastle is a very nice option for me.
“I was there for a long time, 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.”
In January 2020 we saw Jetro Willems bid farewell to Newcastle United, the loan signing having cruciate ligament surgery after picking up a bad injury against Chelsea, the one-time Dutch international having scored two quality goals against Liverpool and Man City in his 20 appearances as a left back or left wing back.
As he left, Willems made a personal statement to Newcastle fans: ‘It was fantastic to play for NUFC! I will come back stronger! I believe in the plan I made with God and the path we have chosen, I pledge to do everything I can, so it will not be my last game for NUFC!!!!’
Since then, Newcastle United have paid £15m for Jamal Lewis, Matt Ritchie called Steve Bruce a ‘coward’ and was then brought back out of the wilderness for a successful first team return in the final couple of months of last season at left wing back. Meanwhile, Paul Dummett got himself fully fit at last and ended last season as first choice as one of three centre-backs and has reportedly had a one year contract extension triggered by the club (though no official confirmation by the club).
For Jetro Willems, by the time the 2021/22 Premier League season kicks off, it will be 19 months since he last played any minutes of first team competitive football, that Chelsea match being his last participation.
Back fully fit in January (2021), Jetro Willems was named on the subs bench by Eintracht Frankfurt 13 times but not given a single minute of football, before they released him this summer.
Even if both parties do want to do a deal, things have got a little more complicated since Willems’ original spell on Tyneside.
With Brexit now ‘done’, players wanting to move from other European countries don’t automatically get the right to AND have to, just as players outside the EU previous had to do previously (and still do), meet certain criteria. Things like playing for your country and club naturally featuring highly.
It was 2016 when Jetro Willems last played for Holland and by August it will be a case of only 31 league starts for Willems in the last 44 months, with 18 of those 31 when starting for Newcastle in last season’s loan spell.
Many Newcastle fans are blindly saying it is a no-brainer for NUFC to sign Jetro Willems but he will need to pass a stringent medical and then I would suggest, the very best Newcastle should offer is an initial one year deal, or some other arrangement such as relatively low wages and most of his money depending on pay as you play.
I would have thought Willems will be looking for something very different, the security of at least a two or three year contract, rather than a shorter-term deal where he could suddenly find himself another year older and having played little football.
For Jetro Willems to be considered anyway, surely we would first have to see some change in terms of outgoings, with Ritchie, Lewis and Dummett already options as things stand.
Personally, I thought Jetro Willems looked very decent at times going forward as a wing back when at Newcastle, BUT as a defender, he seriously struggled at times in the Premier League.
One thing in the potential deal’s favour is that Mike Ashley has shown in the past that if he sees a signing as a potential bargain, he will still give it the go ahead even if it isn’t for a position that needs strengthening.
Nine of the fourteen Newcastle signings since Mike Ashley forced Rafa Benitez out and brought in his latest patsy, Steve Bruce, have been loans or frees.
I wouldn’t be surprised if William Saliba does arrive on loan in the coming days / weeks. Whilst I can see a situation whereby if Matt Ritchie attracts attention and bids of a few million or so, Mike Ashley could well fancy getting one of his highest earners out of the club and replacing him with a free Jetro Willems, who as someone who needs to prove their fitness and ability to bounce back from serious injury, isn’t in the strongest bargaining position.