‘Newcastle United approach Arsenal to sign Joe Willock’ – Mikel Arteta reacts
As Mikel Arteta and his Arsenal team prepared to take on Hibernian in a pre-season friendly on Tuesday night, an exclusive from The Times reported that Newcastle United were in talks with Arsenal to sign Joe Willock.
The midfielder having proved a massive success at the back end of last season, scoring eight goals for NUFC despite only 11 Premier League starts and three sub appearances, the 21 year old scoring in each of his final seven games.
The exclusive saying that Steve Bruce had made contact with Arsenal officials to try and do a deal.
However, this wasn’t a bid to buy the midfielder who scored in all of his final seven games for Newcastle on loan at the end of last season.
Instead, the newspaper stated that Steve Bruce and Mike Ashley are hoping Arsenal will allow another loan arrangement, this time for a full season, as Ashley won’t allow Newcastle to make a bid to buy the 21 year old.
With that kind of approach it would appear Newcastle United would need a near miracle to sign Joe Willock, because if the player is available, plenty of ambitious Premier League clubs will be very keen to pay the asking price.
Nevertheless, when Joe Willock was absent from the Arsenal squad to take on Hibernian last night, it did get tongues wagging further as to the player’s future.
However, when quizzed about Willock’s absence and the headlines regarding Newcastle, Mikel Arteta revealed after the 2-1 defeat to Hibs that there was a simple explanation:
“He [Joe Willock] wasn’t involved today because he had a little groin issue.
“He trained yesterday really well but we didn’t want to risk him.
“Joe is part of our plans, he is our player, and in the time that he is here, we will try to make the most out of him.
“He had a great experience on loan [at Newcastle United].
“He was, I think, one of the most important players for their survival.”
Joe Willock scored an incredible eight Premier League goals for Newcastle United from only seventeen shots / chances and the eight games he scored in, helped Newcastle win 17 of their final 45 points total last season.
Arsenal are set to spend big this summer after consecutive eighth place finishes, the Gunners having never finishing outside the top six in the previous 24 seasons and now in danger of becoming permanent also-rans.
Stan Kroenke has made funds available for Mikel Arteta BUT he needs to top that up as much as possible by selling players, to help fund a number of signings such as the £50m rated Ben White.
Midfielders who score goals are an invaluable commodity and I think for sure Joe Willock will be sold this summer and be playing for another Premier League club next season, as I don’t see him staying at Arsenal.
Mikel Arteta obviously saying all the right things at the minute about keeping Joe Willock but the reality is that he is investing in at least one new central midfielder this summer and has turned down a number of bids from Aston Villa from Emil Smith Rowe.
The big shame is that Newcastle United could have probably got Joe Willock for £10m-£12m if they’d had a buying price clause inserted in the loan deal. However, now surely rated at somewhere north of £20m, probably £30m, after that incredible run of goals for NUFC, that has ironically meant that now there appears no chance of Mike Ashley allowing Newcastle to compete for the player.
Arsenal set to cash in on the midfielder’s Newcastle form and now bank some £15m to £20m more than they could have realistically expected only six months ago.
Arsenal play Rangers on Saturday before flying back to London.
They then are scheduled to fly off to Orlando for the Florida Cup next Wednesday (21 July), where they will play Inter Milan and Everton in a pre-season tournament.
At that point, Newcastle United will be just over three weeks away from kicking off their Premier League campaign and surely if there is to be any chance of NUFC signing Joe Willock again, he won’t be getting on that plane to Florida.
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