Jonás Gutiérrez has a chance to make his return to Newcastle United this weekend against Aston Villa, according to reports. Jonás, 31, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2013 and completed his chemotherapy last November.
Earlier this week, Jonás tweeted that he was physically ready and hoped "the board" would approve his inclusion in the squad. This was in response to comments by interim manager John Carver, who had not left the door open for Jonás' return. It appears that there has been a change of heart. Whether that change in policy was made by Carver or made for him is up for debate, and has raised (more) questions about the level of control that Carver has over his own squad. Lee Charnley has made it clear that the next permanent appointment will be more of a "head coach" than a manager, adding fuel to the speculation.
Jonás' return to the pitch would be seen as a sign of goodwill, a bit of positive publicity for a club who is having trouble in the public relations department. That, coupled with their track record of meddling, makes a "Carver was overruled" conspiracy all the more believable. By the same token, however, it's not very hard to envision a scenario where Carver is ordered not to let Jonás meet the seven appearance threshold that would automatically trigger a new contract.
Either way, it looks like we are edging closer to a triumphant return. "He might make the bench" is a far cry from "This is happening; sound the klaxon," but it seems as if we will be able say that sooner rather than later. Finally, a reason to look forward to watching Newcastle United.