Newcastle United hoped to insert a ‘punitive’ buyout clause into Joe Willock’s contract and it’s unclear if they were successful, The Athletic‘s Chris Waugh writes.
Willock sealed his permanent move to St James’ Park on Friday, signing a six-year contract. Newcastle have shelled out more than £20m to secure the services of the Arsenal man off the back of an impressive loan which saw him score in seven straight matches at the end of last season (via BBC Sport).
Steve Bruce says that the club had to ‘patient and persistent’ in their pursuit of their ‘number one target’. Even when an agreement was reached with Arsenal, personal terms ‘took time’ to be finalised.
Writing for The Athletic, Waugh explored the possible reasons for the ‘prolonged deliberations’. ‘Some sources’ claimed it was down to money, with Willock hopeful of becoming the club’s top earner, but others have dismissed that version of events.
It may have been down to Newcastle’s preference for a buyout clause, perceived as a safety mechanism after they lost Ayoze Perez to Leicester City for £30m in 2019.
Such an arrangement is ‘unlikely to have appealed’ to Willock, but it’s ‘not clear’ whether the clause was ultimately included in his six-year contract.
Indeed, the player compromised on the length of his deal – he wanted it to be ‘slightly shorter’ – and as a result Newcastle made ‘concessions’ in other areas.
It may well have been the case that Newcastle were forced to scrap the buyout clause idea, but we can only speculate at this stage.
The good news for the club is that, even if Willock’s representatives successfully resisted that provision, the length of his contract should still ensure that his value is prohibitively high for the foreseeable future.
Privately, the youngster may well harbour long-term ambitions of another shot at one of the biggest clubs.
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