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Newcastle United sleepwalking towards disaster as ask who needs Joe Willock?

5 months ago
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I have no doubt that if Newcastle United were offered Joe Willock for nothing, they would take him.

If the price tag was £5m then I reckon he would be playing at St James Park next season.

At £10m I think even Mike Ashley would go with that.

That isn’t reality though.

Instead, we have a player who came on loan to Newcastle United without Mike Ashley and his minions getting a buying clause price included in the deal. Joe Willock going on to make headlines, with eight goals in only 980 minutes of football for NUFC, an average of a goal every 122 minutes from midfield.

Joe Willock ramping the media coverage up with every appearance as the season’s end drew closer, scoring in all of his final seven appearances. Becoming the youngest Premier League player ever to do so and matching Alan Shearer’s record for Newcastle in terms of scoring in consecutive PL matches.

A massive shame then that we are never going to see Joe Willock get the chance of making it eight in a row for Newcastle United.

I say that because I think there is zero chance of Newcastle (Mike Ashley) making any kind of a serious effort to sign the Arsenal player.

The NUFC journalists happy to spin us a yarn that Mike Ashley / Newcastle United are preparing a bid, set to test Arsenal’s resolve etc etc. What a load of nonsense.

If there had been a £10m-£12m buying clause in his loan deal, then a no-brainer for even Mike Ashley. He could have bought the midfielder knowing he was instantly doubling his money, as you are now looking at Joe Willock as a £25m-£30m player.

Still early days but a young English player scoring goals from midfield in the Premier League, it rapidly increases the value, even if only a limited number of games to go on.

However, Newcastle United I think are sleepwalking towards disaster as they ask who needs Joe Willock?

They will be happy to believe this daft media narrative (that Steve Bruce and Ashley’s people put out as propaganda in the first place!), that it was actually Newcastle attacking players returning to fitness that were responsible for the relatively big change in results late in the season.

The first 22 Premier League matches of the season before Joe Willock first stepped on the pitch for NUFC, had seen six wins, four draws and a massive twelve defeats, only 22 points in 22 games and only 24 goals.

Plus the most recent 13 games (all competitions) before Joe Willock first played had seen only one win, two draws and ten defeats! Only eight goals scored in those thirteen matches.

Before Joe Willock first played, the opening 22 Premier League matches had seen Callum Wilson start 20 of them and he was a sub in another, only unavailable for one of the 22. Joelinton was available for all 22, whist Almiron was available for 20 of the 22 but Steve Bruce had named him on the bench in eight PL games. Alan Saint-Maximin was the one who’d missed the most but even he played in 12 of the first 22 PL games last season.

This myth needs nailed, the really poor form for the first two thirds or so of the season was NOT down to incredibly bad luck with injuries to attacking players. The results had happened despite Wilson, Almiron and Joelinton having been available for nearly every match, even ASM available for a majority of the first 22 PL matches.

The reason Newcastle United picked up better results in the final few months of the season was almost entirely down to the arrival of Joe Willock. Despite been messed about by Steve Bruce and only starting 11 matches, Willock made the difference.

The final 16 Premier League matches saw Joe Willock start 11 and come on as a sub in another three.

In these 16 matches, Newcastle won six, got five draws and five defeats. Not earth shattering but a lot better than we had seen under Steve Bruce up to that point.

To be honest, a lot of the team performances still weren’t great BUT Newcastle at last had another goal threat, as well as Callum Wilson they now had the Arsenal loan player.

In those final 16 PL matches, Joe Willock scored in five of the six wins and two of the five draws, Newcastle picked up only six points in those final 16 games when Willock didn’t score. Indeed, the Burnley game that was the only win where Willock didn’t get on the pitch was a woeful performance, only ASM producing a stunning six or seven minutes after coming on as a sub turned a certain defeat into a surprising but welcome victory.

Newcastle United are going to sleepwalk into next season with a squad that has nowhere near enough goals in it.

No effort to try and sign Joe Willock, instead falling back into a routine of filling the midfield with non-goalscorers such as Hayden, Shelvey and Hendrick. Maybe supplemented by a bargain basement buy or free transfer.

The likes of Joe Willock don’t come along very often and this is prime Mike Ashley, instead of grabbing the chance and throwing everything at keeping a player at the club who has impressed so much, it will be a case of throwing the dice yet again and gambling big style.

If Joe Willock isn’t signed and Callum Wilson isn’t regularly available next season, who would have any potential whatsoever to be able to score a decent number of goals?

Another knock-on disastrous effect of not throwing everything at signing Joe Willock, could well see Allan Saint-Maximin leave, he is now repeatedly saying in interviews that if Newcastle don’t show ambition then it is inevitable he will leave in the future. That future could well be the weeks ahead…

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