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Opinion

Joe Willock deal looks dead in the water after latest from Steve Bruce

1 week ago
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Joe Willock understandably took centre stage on Sunday.

A poor performance against sixth tier York City saw Newcastle United lose their first pre-season friendly 1-0, not the best.

After the game it got more interesting though, as with Steve Bruce having been in hiding since the conclusion of the 2020/21 season, this was the first chance for journalists to quiz the NUFC Head Coach since 23 May 2021.

What is happening with Joe Willock?

Back on 23 May 2021, Steve Bruce was full of it, that Newcastle United were going to be testing Arsenal’s ‘resolve’ to keep the midfielder. Bruce clearly indicating that NUFC were going to be bidding to buy the midfielder who scored in all of his last seven appearances of last season, beating all kinds of Premier League records in doing so.

Indeed, the media overwhelmingly went with this story, throughout the summer reporting / claiming that whilst the rest of United’s business would be free transfers and / or loans, Joe Willock was the big target to use the money that Mike Ashley would allow to be spent.

In recent days / weeks that media stance has become ever more diluted and today Steve Bruce basically said (in my opinion!) that there is absolutely zero chance of Joe Willock playing for Newcastle United in the 2021/22 season.

Testing Arsenal’s resolve has become ‘We will keep monitoring and badgering away.’

Honestly, what a load of nonsense.

There clearly has never been any remotely serious intention to try and sign Joe Willock.

I think clearly Arsenal are prepared to sell Joe Willock and Newcastle United / Mike Ashley have zero intention of making any bid to buy him.

So basically, we need no Premier League club to be prepared to pay the asking price for a 21 year old English midfielder who scored goals for fun at the end of last season.

Then even if that remarkable comes to pass, we then need everybody else also standing to one side to allow a ‘monitoring’ Newcastle United to complete a cheap and cheerful loan deal with nobody else interested.

That is just not happening.

Even if by some strange set of circumstances, Arsenal were prepared to loan Joe Willock out again, there would be a seriously high loan fee to pay, plus matching his wages or bettering them.

Mike Ashley, Steve Bruce and the rest of the Ashley minions are just toying with us, doling out false hope as absolutely no ambition is shown in this transfer window.

Whether Mike Ashley ends up selling or staying with Newcastle United, buying Joe Willock for around the £25m+ mark makes absolutely perfect sense. If a takeover did happen then Mike Ashley would be quite rightly pointing to Willock as one of the major assets of a deal. It would not be money thrown down the drain, Joe Willock would be an asset to be traded on.

Now less than four weeks to go until the season kicks off, Newcastle United lose to sixth tier opposition and Steve Bruce is still telling us fairytale endings about Joe Willock.

Why on earth would you want a normally run ambitious Premier League club?

Steve Bruce talking about Joe Willock – 23 May 2021:

“Watching Joe Willock play, you can see a young player enjoying himself.

“Enjoying the freedom that we have given to him, the licence to run forward.

“He has given us something which we certainly didn’t have before.

“He is a very very good player.

“We would love to bring him back [to Newcastle].

“We will see if we can test Arsenal’s resolve [to keep Joe Willock].

Steve Bruce on Joe Willock – 18 July 2021:

“It is really Arsenal’s decision.

“And until Arsenal make a decision…

“A bit like all the big clubs, they have a look over pre-season.

“We will keep monitoring and badgering away.

“We would love to do something but it is still Arsenal’s call.”

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