During the summer, Dutch international left back Jetro Willems arrived at St James’ Park on loan. He departed Eintracht Frankfurt after the Eagles had made it to the Europa League semi-final the previous season, only to lose to eventual winner Chelsea on penalties.
He proved to be an incredibly astute loan signing, capably slotting in ahead of Matt Ritchie at left back, who had been deputising there for some time. In total he made 18 starts, scoring two goals, which included a screamer against Liverpool and another in the 2-2 draw with Manchester City. However, unfortunately, in January against Chelsea, he ruptured his cruciate ligament and has not featured for the Magpies since.
At the turn of the year, Danny Rose arrived in his place from Tottenham Hotspur, and the England international has been impressive since slotting in midseason making nine starts. Although the 30-year-old has been linked with a permeant move to St James’ Park, Steve Bruce ought to consider keeping on to Willems instead.
Not only has the Dutchman made twice as many starts this term, but he has also registered an almost identical number of tackles per game, 1.9, with Rose making two, and the duo have the same amount of interceptions in a Newcastle shirt 0.9 per 90 minutes. Additionally, Willems has been involved in four goals, having also provided two assists, highlighting how he experts more of an influence in the final third than Rose.
Another reason that could tempt Bruce to side with the Dutchman is that even though Willems is four years younger than his English teammate, he is valued at £4.95m (Transfermarkt), which is narrowly cheaper than the £5m Rose would reportedly cost Newcastle.
Providing he has recovered from his knee injury, Newcastle should think long and hard about moving for Willems instead of his replacement. The Magpies could get considerably more use out of the 26-year-old for what is suggested to be an almost identical outlay. Willems’ performed excellently at the start of this season and were it not for his injury, it could be him instead of Rose being linked with a permanent move.