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Opinion

Joe Willock move to Newcastle United looking very unlikely as other clubs move in

2 months ago
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The Newcastle United ‘pursuit’ of Joe Willock has been an interesting one to say the least.

The 21 year old signed on loan at the start of February 2021 but Newcastle failing to put in any buying price clause for the end of the loan period, where if things did work out they could potentially get the midfielder at a relatively bargain price.

Scoring early on his debut in the win over Southampton, Joe Willock then ended the season in remarkable fashion, scoring in all of the final seven Premier League games of the season.

Yet whilst they had him in the grasp, with no other clubs able to get to him, Newcastle United still failed to make any moves to get a permanent deal in place before the season ended and Joe Willock headed back down to London.

The message coming out of Steve Bruce / Newcastle United was that instead of trying to do a deal now, they would ‘test Arsenal’s resolve’ later in the summer (Steve Bruce – 23 May 2021: ‘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].’).

I was confused, if you have any serious intention of trying to sign a player who has been in such amazing goalscoring form, you surely strike at the earliest possible moment?

Instead of pointing out how ridiculous this situation was, Steve Bruce’s mates in the subservient NUFC media pretty much all agreed that this was a perfectly reasonable plan.

Well, as the summer has progressed, that ‘plan’ has become ever more transparent…transparently hopeless.

In his latest update on Newcastle’s transfer ‘strategy’, Steve Bruce declared this past weekend:

“The one thing I am never going to do is bullsh.t them [Newcastle fans]. And they know…everybody knows how difficult it is going to be.

“We haven’t got a lot of money and as managers we always want players and money to improve the team. That’s our job.

“I don’t think I am alone though in thinking it’s going to be quiet [in the transfer market], so we have to be patient.

“We have to wait for the big huge clubs and see what they do.

“I hope people take that the right way.”

I don’t know about taking it the ‘right way’ but I take Steve Bruce’s words in the most obvious way.

Whilst in other recent interviews / press conferences the NUFC Head Coach has bizarrely claimed Newcastle could still buy Joe Willock this summer despite in the next breath stating there is basically zero transfer budget, it is surely crystal clear that this was never ever going to be the case.

We were all supposed to believe this ludicrous scenario that:

Firstly, Arsenal would decide not to keep Joe Willock at Arsenal for the 2021/22 season.

Secondly, Arsenal would then refuse to sell Willock to any of the many Premier League clubs willing to pay his transfer fee and wages.

Thirdly, Arsenal would then insist on loaning the midfielder to Newcastle, rather than to any other Premier League club willing to pay a higher loan fee.

Fourthly, that Joe Willock would insist on coming to Newcastle, rather than any other PL club, even if they were a club looking far more ambitious than NUFC.

We are now fully seven weeks (today is the 49th day of it) into the summer transfer window and still absolutely no ‘testing of Arsenal’s resolve’ from Mike Ashley and Steve Bruce.

Instead, we have now had The Telegraph revealing that their information is that other Premier League clubs have now registered their interest in signing Joe Willock. ‘Quelle surprise’ as Del Boy might say.

This idea that the only two scenarios were Arsenal keeping Joe Willock, or the 21 year old going on loan to Newcastle United, was absolutely unbelievable.

A 21 year old English midfielder who broke all kinds of Premier League scoring records at the end of last season and other clubs not going to be doing their best to sign him if Arsenal are willing to let him go…the truth was as obvious as the fact that Mike Ashley is going to allow Newcastle United to drift into a guaranteed relegation battle this season, by refusing to allow any proper strengthening of this NUFC squad.

To fail to sign Joe Willock this summer would have been disappointing BUT to not even put in a serious offer to buy the goalscoring midfielder is absolutely scandalous and tragic. Two words that also sum up Mike Ashley’s ownership and the words that come out of Steve Bruce’s mouth.

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