Newcastle boss Steve Bruce says he would “love” to make to Joe Willock’s loan move a permanent fixture as he plans for next season.
The Arsenal man arrived in January and has been a revelation for the Magpies. Willock has hit five goals in 11 appearances during a productive loan spell at St James’ Park. The 21-year-old has undoubtedly played a hug part in helping the Magpies move clear of the drop zone. And Bruce has gone public with his plans for the midfielder, who is under contract until 2023.
Asked about Newcastle’s plans for Arsenal-owned Willock, Bruce told talkSPORT: “All of us would love to [make it permanent].
“He’s 21, a midfield player and he’s got five goals since the turn of the year, so of course we want him – but we have to respect that he’s Arsenal’s player.
“I’m sure Arsenal will have big discussions this summer, but if there’s a possibility that we can bring him back we’d love to do it.”
The 60-year-old boss, meanwhile, also addressed speculation about his future. The former Sheffield Wednesday coach is under contract with the club until 2022.
The Telegraph reported last month that Mike Ashley will offer Bruce a new deal if they stayed up this season. That has almost been assured after their resounding 4-3 success over Leicester.
The report added that Bruce would be offered a better wage, but he will have a worse compensation package if he was to be sacked.
Bruce says he has no plans to retire, but admitted his future is out of his hands.
“It is for others to decide,” said Bruce.
“Most clubs will have big discussions and review the season. I am a football person and it is still too early to retire yet. But those conversations will happen over the next couple of weeks, I am sure.”
Bruce desperate to keep winger
Bruce also made it clear he will do all in his power to keep star winger Allan Saint-Maximin.
Bruce added: “I said when we signed him he was going to be someone who gets you off the edge of your seat and how often do you feel like that about an individual player?
“He has wonderful natural ability and it wouldn’t surprise me if other teams are looking because his ability is there for everybody to see.
“He is right. Nobody wants Newcastle to be in a relegation fight.
“He is a very gifted individual and young, of course. The last thing we want to be doing is selling our better players that is for sure.”