5 players Newcastle United want to sign in January
For a club as big as Newcastle United, you have to wonder why they've achieved so little in modern times. They repeatedly splash out millions on superstars that don't deliver, and are left lagging behind other teams in the Premier League, sliding ever closer to the foot of the league with each passing game.
Approximately £31m has been spent on players this season, yet only one has made any discernible difference: Salomon Rondon. The Venezuelan has showcased exactly why it's so vital for teams to ensure that they have a strong strikeforce, as he's made a world of difference to the Magpies' season so far.
And yet Newcastle currently sit 15th in the Premier League, a mere seven points from the bottom, and five from slipping into the relegation zone. On paper, Newcastle have a team worth admiring, as well as a superb manager in Rafa Benitez, but there's something holding them back, and there has been for years.
Could they solve their problems with the players they've been linked with in January? Let's take a look at the five players most closely linked with the Magpies and determine just how probable a transfer might be.
#5 Jetro Willems (Eintracht Frankfurt)
A product of Sparta Rotterdam's youth academy, Willems progressed through their U17 and U19 squads before finally getting a spot in the first team in January 2011. He was soon being monitored by top clubs in the Eredivisie, including PSV Eindhoven, who signed Willems in the summer of that year for around £700k.
It took some time for Willems to fully integrate with the first team, but by the 2014-15 season, the 20-year-old had featured in 30 games, assisting an impressive 13 goals, and scoring two of his own. The following season was slightly less impressive, however, as injury took its toll on his campaign; he only played 15 times, assisting just four this time around.
Willems began to play less and less towards the end of his time with PSV, which prompted a move in the summer of 2017 to Eintracht Frankfurt. He went on to sign a four-year deal with the Bundesliga side.
Rumour probability: 9/10
The Daily Mail report that Rafa Benitez is keen to bolster his defensive options next month, particularly the left-back position, with Holland international Willems his primary target.
If this is true, then there's no doubt that Willems will make the move from the Bundesliga to play for Newcastle in the Premier League. The difference between the two leagues is profound, and any player with ambition would be eager to make the switch.
Of course, there are external factors involved in a move like this, such as Willems' family and whether they'd be willing to up and move from their new home in Germany all the way to England. So ultimately the decision will lie with Willems and his current situation, but as far as his career is concerned, this is a big step up.