Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has shattered Steve Bruce’s hopes of keeping Joe Willock at Newcastle next season.
Speaking at his Friday press conference Arteta was asked about the loan midfielder, who has been in sensational form for the Magpies. The 21-year-old became the youngest player in Premier League history to score in six consecutive appearance as Newcastle defeated Sheffield United 1-0 at St James’ Park this week.
It prompted questions to Bruce about Willock’s future and after seven goals in 13 Premier League appearances, it was no wonder he said he would live Willock to stay.
Bruce said: “As I have said before, it’s a doubled-edged sword. We have to respect he’s Arsenal’s player.
“If we can, we’d love to bring him here. Let’s see what we can do because he’s exactly what we needed. Joe has still got a lot to learn but we have given him a freedom and a licence to get forward. He is a young player enjoying his football.”
Arteta though has pretty much ended any hopes Newcastle had of taking Willock on loan again or by signing him permanently.
Asked whether Willock will return, Arteta said: “Yes, and I’m really happy that things have gone so well for him because of the potential that Joe has.
“I think it was great for him to go away and have a different experience. He has grabbed that opportunity in a really remarkable and positive way. He will be back with us, we will have those conversations with him and plan the next years for him.
“And he got the responsibility and the task to go to Newcastle to help them go where they want. I’m telling you that I spoke with the coaching staff and they are extremely happy because he was a key part in contributing to get the objectives that they had. So that’s a real positive for him.”
The Gunners boss was also probed about the future of Hector Bellerin.
Bellerin is under contract until 2023, but the 23-year-old continues to be linked with moves elsewhere.
The right-back has been out of the plans of Arteta recently. In fact Bellerin has made only three league appearances since Arsenal were beaten by Manchester City on February 21.
The Spaniard was hammered on social media after needlessly kicking the ball out of play against City. And Calciomercato.it, via Sport Witness, reported Bellerin wass “ready to leave” The Emirates.
AC Milan, Barcelona, PSG, Juventus and Inter Milan are all reportedly interested in him. Arteta though was giving nothing away on Friday.
“Hector is not fit so he won’t be there playing the last game. Like everybody that has a contract he remains here,” said the Spaniard.
The Arsenal boss was also quizzed about the future of the club after Daniel Ek’s takeover bid was recently rejected.
Asked if the club could move forwards, Arteta added: “I really hope so because I think we’ve been very clear on where the owners are standing. I think I’ve been clear to give my view on the situation.
“And just for the benefit of the club, which I think is the only interest that everybody who supports really the club should be aiming for, is to get the unity and the togetherness that we need to be back where we want. That’s all.”