But the Gazette understands transfer progress at St James’s Park has stalled and a move for the player, at this stage, looks unlikely in the January window.
Willems’ contract at Eintracht Frankfurt runs out in the summer, and the player is understood to have rejected any advances to extend his stay in the Bundesliga.
The player is thought to favour a move back to the Premier League, with Newcastle United his preferred destination.
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And the 26-year-old has been offered to United by intermediaries in a deal that would see the player rejoin the club 12 months after suffering a knee injury which saw his loan spell cut short.
However – with budgets tight at St James’s Park this window due to the ongoing losses arising from the COVID-19 crisis and the continued uncertainty regarding the club’s ownership – it seems a deal for Willems, who is liked by manager Steve Bruce, will have to wait to the summer, if the player remains available.
United have been exploring their options in the loan market this month, but club sources suggest this month could turn out to be a quiet one.
While cash deals look to be off the table due to tough financial challenges facing the club – as well as many others in English football – another issue facing Bruce and the Newcastle United hierarchy is the inability to wriggle free some room in their 25-man Premier League squad. While the likes of Dwight Gayle, Andy Carroll, Jacob Murphy and DeAndre Yedlin have attracted interest, the manager is keen to hang on to those members of his squad, despite the fact all four are in the final months of their black and white deals.
The Magpies had lined up a move for Brandon Williams, but the player looks like remaining at Manchester United this season as cover at both left and right back.
United, too, have been linked with moves for the likes of Huddersfield Town midfielder Lewis O’Brien and Ecuador international Moises Caicedo in recent days.