‘There is a deal to be done’ for Newcastle midfielder Joe Willock, sources in North London have told Chronicle Live journalist Mark Douglas.
The 21-year-old moved to St James’ Park on loan at the start of February and enjoyed an immensely successful spell. He netted in the last seven Premier League games, matching the club-record streak set by Alan Shearer.
The Arsenal midfielder’s contributions were vital in pushing Newcastle up to 12th in the final standings and, despite only spending half the season on Tyneside, he wound up as the club’s second top-scorer for the campaign behind Callum Wilson.
Douglas has reported that Newcastle have ‘registered their interest’ in signing Willock permanently. Arsenal are said to be ‘assessing their options’ at present, and their decision could depend on whether they can secure their ‘priority targets’.
Newcastle may need to fork out £30m to persuade Arsenal to part with the midfielder, which would make him their second-most expensive signing behind Joelinton.
The player himself is apparently ‘open to a return’ and may receive encouragement from his family, as his father Charles was ‘particularly impressed’ by Newcastle’s handling of the 21-year-old.
Unfortunately it’s difficult to see Newcastle shelling out £30m, especially with reports that Steve Bruce’s budget may be 40% or less of that figure, and even a reduction in Arsenal’s demands when they bolster their midfield ranks may not suffice.
The Magpies should probably pursue a second season-long loan deal and then launch a permanent move next summer, when the strains on the market will hopefully have eased.
They could also have new owners by then, of course, depending on the outcome of the ongoing takeover saga.
In other news, Newcastle have identified another transfer target.
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