Arsenal have told Joe Willock that they have plans for him in their first team after rejecting another loan offer from Newcastle, according to reports – but the situation remains dynamic.
Willock spent the second half of last season on loan at Newcastle and it was a hugely successful spell. The attacking midfielder scored in seven consecutive games at the end of the season to match a record Alan Shearer streak. He won the Premier League Player of the Month for May 2021 as a result.
Without Willock, Newcastle’s fate may have been different. They were hovering above the relegation zone for most of the season, but eventually climbed up to 12th.
If they want to be more comfortable in midtable next season, keeping Willock would be beneficial. They are unlikely to be able to afford a permanent transfer, but are trying to take him back on loan again.
However, Arsenal are ready to put their faith in their academy graduate after he proved himself at Premier League level. Therefore, they have snubbed Newcastle’s advances so far.
According to Ian McGarry of the Transfer Window Podcast, the Magpies have made a new offer with a higher loan fee, but even that has been turned down.
“They want to keep Joe Willock,” McGarry said.
“My information is that Newcastle United have made an improved offer in terms of loan fee to take Joe Willock again for a season.
“Arsenal have declined that offer and in doing so informed the player and his agent that he is in Mikel Arteta’s plans having proven himself in the division with Newcastle United.
“So it looks to me like they will retain Willock on the basis he will get game time and they will develop him at the Emirates Stadium rather than have him do so elsewhere.
“Not saying that it’s definitely not the case he will go out on loan. But at this moment in time, I think Arteta is keen to keep his options open.”
Willock has made 78 appearances for Arsenal after debuting in September 2017. His first Premier League appearance came in April 2018, coincidentally against Newcastle.
The two clubs are now vying for his services for the season ahead. But it is parent club Arsenal who hold all the power in this situation.
He remains under contract at the Emirates Stadium until 2023.
Newcastle won’t wait forever for Willock
Speaking on Friday, Newcastle boss Steve Bruce provided the latest from their side about Willock.
Bruce said: “We can’t wait forever.
“We’ve made it pretty obvious all summer that he’s our number one target. We’ll keep working away at it and see if something can develop.
“But, there comes a cut-off period.”