Newcastle United are currently waiting to see whether Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta will sanction a move for Joe Willock, according to The Athletic‘s Chris Waugh.
Willock spent the latter half of the 2020/21 season on loan at St James’ Park and excelled, scoring in each of their final seven Premier League matches. That equalled Alan Shearer’s club-record streak (via BBC Sport).
Shearer himself hailed Willock as ‘exactly what Newcastle have been missing’ and noted that ‘not many teams have been able to handle him’.
Encouragingly for Newcastle, Arsenal are said to be in the market for two central midfielders this summer, theoretically reducing Willock’s importance and prospects at the Emirates Stadium. The Gunners have already signed one, the Belgian Albert Sambi Lokonga, for a fee of £15.75m.
By contrast, the Magpies are yet to bring in any new faces in the current transfer window, even on loan.
Waugh reports that ‘dialogue remains open’ between the two clubs, with Willock’s addition seen as ‘vital’ for Steve Bruce’s side.
The proposed loan move can’t necessarily progress much further until Arteta gives the green light, and the Spaniard has yet to decide whether he wants Willock at his disposal this season.
While ‘there remains confidence’ that the 21-year-old will be donning black and white again in 2021/22, the delay is described as ‘a little disconcerting’. [The Athletic]
Newcastle fans can probably afford to be cautiously optimistic. Willock was afforded just two Premier League starts for Arsenal last season before he moved north, and it looks as if their summer business will narrow his path to the first team further.
Add in the fact that they’ve missed out on European football, limiting the need to keep peripheral players around as rotation options, and surely Arteta must recognise that heading back to Newcastle is best for Willock’s development.
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