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Hopes rapidly receding of Newcastle United buying Joe Willock in the summer

5 months ago

Joe Willock was making headlines yet again at the weekend.

Steve Bruce saying the midfielder was ‘devastated’ when told he wouldn’t be starting against Liverpool.

However, yet again Joe Willock didn’t let Steve Bruce’s bizarre team selections prevent him doing his best. So when getting his chance as a replacement for Ciaran Clark on 64 minutes, no surprise to see the Arsenal loan player still making runs into the box in the final seconds of the match, Joe Willock grabbing an equaliser from Gayle’s knock down in the fifth minute of added time.

Maybe the only surprise was that it took Willock so long to score…

Against Tottenham, it only took the midfielder six minutes after coming on in the 79th minute to rescue a point when making it 2-2.

Whilst brought on against West Ham on 80 minutes, only two minutes later Joe Willock got the winner.

That makes it three goals in his last 41 minutes of action by my reckoning.

Steve Bruce, both before and after the draw at Anfield, was at pains to say (see below) how much he rated Joe Willock, how much he would love to sign him permanently in the summer, how well the loan signing had done to score three times in three substitute appearances.

However, he still doesn’t give any proper reason as to why he refuses to start Joe Willock.

It really sums up Steve Bruce’s luck this month, doesn’t it.

Doesn’t give Joe Willock a single start in April, then with nothing to lose and desperate he sends the midfielder on (too!) late in the game(s), then three times out of three he scores! Then quite astonishingly, instead of the media giving Bruce a hard time as to why on earth he prefers starting Jonjo Shelvey (and Sean Longstaff…and Joelinton?) to Joe Willock, instead they credit(!) Steve Bruce for having allowed Willock on the pitch at all!

Steve Bruce talks about buying Joe Willock and building a team around him long-term.

Honestly, he comes out with some classics doesn’t he.

If Joe Willock is such a great prospect and Steve Bruce is so determined to convince him to come to Newcastle permanently, how does that square with now never giving him a start behind Sean Longstaff who is still struggling for form and Jonjo Shelvey who is still struggling to even job, never mind sprint into the box and score goals? Joe Willock was given 26 minutes against Liverpool but with only 10 and 11 minutes to go respectively of the Spurs and West Ham matches. Willock not getting on at all against Burnley.

Next weekend Newcastle play Arsenal and so by the time we get to the following game away at Leicester, in a seven week period Joe Willock will have only played 45 minutes of first team football in seven weeks, with only three matches left to go after that Leicester one.

Yes, Joe Willock will be loving it, enjoying it, scoring goals, every player is the same. However, I can’t think that what is happening, left out the team game after game is making Joe Willock think that this is the club (and manager!) I want to be with. Instead, I can only imagine that having scored four goals from midfield in only 638 minutes of Premier League  play on loan, Willock be thinking about how many clubs could be potentially interested this summer when it comes to wanting to buy him.

All Premier League clubs are crying out for midfielders who can score goals, Newcastle get one of these on loan BUT then won’t even start him!

Steve Bruce says how serious he is about trying to buy Joe Willock but there again, Bruce says a lot of things. At the end of last season, despite them having been really poor to woeful on loan, Steve Bruce was telling everybody how he’d be doing everything he could to buy Danny Rose and Nabil Bentaleb. Despite both Spurs and Schalke desperate to move the pair on and no serious competition to sign them, absolutely nothing from Steve Bruce and Newcastle United. That pair now leaving for nothing this summer, Danny Rose not a single PL game played this season, whilst Bentaleb started only six Bundsliga ones as Schalke were relegated.

The warning bells rang for me when Joe Willock was first signed, absolutely no mention of any clause in the loan deal of a figure Newcastle would then be able to buy him for this summer. I don’t think there was any serious intention from Ashley and Bruce that a permanent deal would try to be done this summer.

With no buying price in place, I don’t see any chance of Newcastle buying the midfielder.

Arsenal will sell this summer and use the money to strengthen their squad elsewhere and obviously will want to maximise what they get for Joe Willock.

I reckon a buying clause could have been agreed of somewhere around £10m-£12m BUT now he has shown what he can do, I reckon the bidding starts at £20m+. Every goal Joe Willock scores for Newcastle will probably add £2m or £3m to his summer value, taking him well out of NUFC’s (Mike Ashley’s!!) reach. Once it becomes an auction amongst clubs to pay the most competitive transfer fee and wages for a young prospect, no way do I see Ashley having any interest in Newcastle trying to come out on top.

We saw how under Rafa Benitez, Ayoze Perez’ value massively increased from around that £10m or so mark to £30m, when he scored nine Premier League goals from February to May 2019. Joe Willock, especially if he gets a start or two(!), could potentially get another three or so goals and having scored say seven from midfield in only three and a bit months from such limited time on the pitch, his value would / could rocket.

Newcastle fans have liked what they have seen so far but I would be amazed if Joe Willock is playing once again for NUFC next season.

Steve Bruce speaking about Joe Willock on Friday 23 April 2021:

“I think Joe [Willock] is thoroughly enjoying it here.

“There are a lot of conversations to be had [before a permanent signing from Arsenal might happen] but why wouldn’t we want to sign him?

“He is 21, he is young, he is fit, he is athletic, he can score a goal and he has got wonderful pace – arguably Joe is as quick as anyone at this club.

“I certainly think he enjoyed the adulation of scoring the winner against West Ham last week.

“He has got a big future.

“He is the right type and the right profile, you would love to build a team around a young player like Joe.

“If there is a chance to bring him here next season, I would love to get it done.”

Steve Bruce speaking about Joe Willock on Saturday 24 April 2021 after Liverpool 1 Newcastle 1:

“Joe Willock was devastated yesterday [Friday] when I told him he was not playing but he has come on in the last three games and scored.

“I am delighted for him.

“I think he will hate the tag [of supersub] because yesterday I devastated him by not putting him in the team.

“I told him the reasons why…

“Then he picks up a knock in training and it was touch and go whether he makes the bench.

“So to come on and have that impact again, I’m delighted for him.

“To get three [goals] in three [appearances off the bench], I’m delighted.”


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