Joe Willock’s future at Arsenal has been up in the air all summer after an outstanding loan spell at Newcastle United and Sky Sports says the Magpies are closing in on a £25m deal for the 21-year-old.
Willock scored an impressive eight goals in 14 games from midfield at Newcastle last season and is now turning the loan move permanent.
Why would Willock leave Arsenal?
While a talented player and decent servant who made 78 appearances across the board for Arsenal, Willock is unlikely to nail down a starting place this season with so much competition.
The Englishman has Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka, Mohamed Elneny, new-boy Sambi Lokonga and Lucas Torreira standing in his way of playing under Mikel Arteta, so he stands a better chance of getting opportunities at Newcastle.
Willock needs first-team football
Although Willock would have competition from Isaac Hayden, Sean Longstaff, Jonjoe Shelvey, Jeff Hendrick and Matty Longstaff at St James’ Park, he was a regular on loan and should therefore feature heavily under Steve Bruce if signed.
The Longstaff brothers have uncertain futures in the North-East, so there may be vacancies to fill. Willock is definitely one of the best options for Bruce. And the Magpies are pursuing other midfielders, so they’re clearly not satisfied with their current options – Olympique Marseille’s Boubacar Kamara and Liverpool’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are on their radar.
It’s sad that Arsenal are parting company with an academy player that has shown promise, but Willock clearly enjoyed his stint at Newcastle last season and wants to join the side permanently, so it’s out of their hands – getting £25m for the 21-year-old will provide some solace.
Willock could have been loaned out for another season, but there is no guarantee things would be better for him in 2022, so it may be the right decision to sell him.