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Hopes all but disappear of Newcastle United signing £20m Joe Willock this summer

5 months ago

Joe Willock arrived at Newcastle United on loan at the end of January.

The midfielder having scored only one goal in 40 Premier League appearances for Arsenal and with only two league starts all season for the Gunners, desperately needing regular football elsewhere.

At Newcastle United he has got that, kind of.

Steve Bruce bizarrely dropping the Arsenal loan player to the bench, meaning Joe Willock didn’t get a start for seven weeks after having been made a scapegoat for the 3-0 defeat at Brighton in March, whilst even more bizarrely, the likes of Jonjo Shelvey kept his place.

Thankfully, the young midfielder didn’t down tools after Bruce put him on the sidelines, instead Joe Willock coming off the bench late on three times in a row and scoring goals that saved the Head Coach’s bacon on each occasion. A win against West Ham and draws against Spurs and Liverpool, when NUFC were staring at one point in total, or maybe even none at all thanks to the second half collapse against the Hammers brought about by Bruce’s shockingly negative tactics despite 2-0 up and a man advantage.

An excellent display and key opening goal against Leicester on his return to the starting eleven, before a strange / amusing incident on Friday night as Joe Willock claimed yet another goal.

Joelinton had clearly been nominated as the penalty taker on the night and had already scored an excellent spot-kick, so when Walker fouled Willock in the box in the second half, surely the Brazilian to step up again? Instead, Joe Willock grabbed the ball and made clear he was going to take it no matter what the pre-match plan had been.

As it happened, a pretty poor penalty from Joe Willock was saved by Scott Carson (one of the 35 year old’s very few saves on the night!) but the Arsenal loan player showed great awareness and athleticism to score with the rebound despite slipping in the process.

Steve Bruce said about this penalty incident and Joe Willock ending up taking it…

“It didn’t annoy me.

“I used to take penalties myself and I’m a big believer that there are times where you are not that confident.

“If you’re not that confident, give it to someone else.

“Now, whether Joelinton felt that way, or maybe Joe Willock wanted it that badly to make it five (goals) on the spin…if you are confident, I’m always open to it.”

I know the match result wasn’t important but this kind of sums up what appears to be the training ground regime under Steve Bruce. Danny Rose last year when he was on loan at Newcastle, exposing the fact that Steve Bruce gives players far more days off and away from the training pitch than any club he’d played at previously, or at other clubs he’d heard about. Surely you either have a nominated penalty taker or you don’t and it appeared most definitely Joe Willock insisting on taking it, not Joelinton refusing the chance to add to his six goals in sixty eight Premier League appearances.

I would agree with Steve Bruce in respect of great to see the Joe Willock confidence and desperation to score as many goals as possible.

There again, why wouldn’t he, the more goals Joe Willock scores for Newcastle United, the greater the options he will have this summer.

After last night’s defeat to Man City, the official Premier League twitter account put out this info about Joe Willock, at the age of 21 years 267 days, the midfielder became the youngest player to score in five consecutive PL appearances since Jose Antonio Reyes in September 2004 (21 years 10 days).

That 17 year old record is the kind of thing that will really get a 21 year old noticed AND with matches against already relegated Sheffield United and Fulham, every chance that Joe Willock could end the season having scored in all of the final seven PL matches of the season!

These last five goals arrived for Joe Willock in only 180 minutes of action from him scoring the 2-2 equaliser against Tottenham, to scoring against Man City last night in the 62nd minute. Very impressive.

Overall for Newcastle United so far, Joe Willock has made nine starts, three sub appearances and played 805 minutes in total, scoring six goals.

That is a goal on average every 136 minutes, which for a midfielder in the Premier League makes him VERY hot property.

Only 21 years of age and absolutely no reason to suggest why he hasn’t got the potential to maintain that kind of goal threat moving forward.

I am astounded that we are still repeatedly seeing lazy headlines from the media declaring that Newcastle United are set to sign £20m Joe Willock this summer.

The warning bells first rang for me when Joe Willock was very first signed.

There was no mention of any clause in the loan deal of a figure Newcastle would then be able to buy him for this summer. To be honest, 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.

That would still have needed Joe Willock to want to sign permanently at the end of his loan agreement BUT at least it would have been a possibility of the transfer fee falling within the limitations of what Mike Ashley might have agreed to.

I reckon a buying clause could have been agreed in January of somewhere around £10m-£12m BUT now he has shown what he can do, I reckon the bidding starts at £30m+. The media still talking of £20m for Joe Willock is pure fantasy.

Yes the transfer market might take a hit this summer but why on earth would Arsenal be now feeling the need to sell Joe Willock for only £20m? That is the kind of fee that gets paid for players who have shown some promise in the Championship, such as Benrahma and Bowen who West Ham bought.

You look at Lingard back out of the wilderness and scoring for fun on loan at West Ham and talk of him now back in the £40m+ bracket and out of the Hammers’ price range. Joe Willock is seven years younger than Lingard (turns 29 in December) and has all the promise in the world, having scored against the likes of Liverpool, Man City, Spurs and West Ham, why would he be worth less than half of what Lingard might go for?

Every goal Joe Willock scores for Newcastle will add significantly to his summer value, 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 Mike Ashley having any interest in Newcastle trying to come out on top.

Steve Bruce keeps saying that he would love to see Newcastle buy Joe Willock this summer.

Bruce also keeps saying that after the season has ended and we are into the summer break, would be when you would have those type of talks.

Does anybody honestly buy that?

We all know that clubs signing players is a process that is constantly going on, in terms of planning weeks and months, sometimes years, ahead. The starting point if Newcastle United are indeed in any way serious about signing Joe Willock is most definitely NOT after he has waved goodbye at the end of the season and headed back to that London.

Mike Ashley should be pushing the button NOW.

Newcastle United should be going in with a £25m / £30m offer to sign Joe Willock now and try everything to get him snapped up whilst he is still at St James Park. Offer enough to Arsenal to tempt them to bank it now to help with their summer recruitment plans AND show Joe Willock just how much they do value him and are desperate to sign him permanently. If Newcastle are to land the goalscoring midfielder then that time is now, sell him a picture of a more ambitious NUFC moving forward.

Why wait until the summer break, when other clubs will make their move, a competition to pay the highest transfer fee and wages, as well as the ambition. I see a very clear and obvious potential scenario where in the summer West Ham will accept they can’t afford Lingard, go for Willock instead and are prepared to pay the £30m+ to satisfy Arsenal, whilst also satisfying the midfielder’s wage expectations AND most importantly, convince Willock of their ambition, especially with European football likely on offer.

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. I really hope that for once Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce can prove me wrong.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 3 Man City 4 – Friday 14 May 8pm



Krafth 25, Joelinton 45+6 pen, Willock 62

Man City:

Cancelo 39, Torres 42, 64, 66

(Half-time stats in brackets)

Possession was Man City 82% (81%) Newcastle 18% (19%)

Total shots were Man City 15 (8)  Newcastle 11 (5)

Shots on target were Man City 6 (4) Newcastle 5 (2)

Corners were Man City 5 (3) Newcastle 4 (2)

Referee: Kevin Friend

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Murphy, Fernandez (Gayle 88), Krafth, Dummett, Ritchie (Sean Longstaff 84), Shelvey, Willock, Almiron, Saint-Maximin, Joelinton (Lewis 84)

Unused Subs:

Mark Gillespie, Ciaran Clark, Andy Carroll, Jeff Hendrick, Javier Manquillo, Matty Longstaff

Crowd: 00,000

(Steve Bruce says he’ll ‘grow an even thicker skin’ as Newcastle United fans set to return – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 3 Manchester City 4 – Watch all 7 goals here in official match highlights – Watch HERE)

(Newcastle 3 Manchester City 4 – A shockingly excellent performance and an even better match! Read HERE)

(Newcastle 3 Manchester City 4 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Friday’s defeat – Read HERE)


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