Joe Willock is undergoing a medical with Newcastle and Steve Bruce hopes he will be available to train immediately after praising their patient approach.
Willock has been Newcastle’s top target all summer after he excelled on loan with them last season. After arriving from Arsenal in January, he scored eight goals in 14 games – including strikes in seven consecutive games to match an Alan Shearer club record. His form helped them steer well clear of the relegation zone and into midtable.
It thus made sense for Newcastle to try to keep the attack-minded midfielder. However, Arsenal would not let him go easily and he spent his pre-season back in north London.
But now, there has been a double breakthrough, with Newcastle presenting an acceptable offer this week. Obstacles surrounding personal terms have also been overcome and Willock is currently back on Tyneside.
“He’s having a medical as we speak. So we hope that comes through okay and he’ll be able to train with us this afternoon,” Bruce confirmed.
“We knew that we’d have to be patient. From the very last game of the season, we’d made it pretty obvious that if Joe was going to become available, then we would try to secure him.
“To start with, I knew [Arsenal boss] Mikel [Arteta] would want to have a look at him in pre-season – that’s only normal, to have a look at your young players – so we knew we had to be patient.
“Obviously we explored the loan situation to begin with, because I think that would have suited certainly Joe and it certainly suited us. But when that wasn’t possible with Arsenal, then we’ve had to go and buy him, which is great for us.
“There were times when I didn’t think it was going to happen, but fair play to [managing director] Lee [Charnley] and everybody concerned, we’ve managed to get it over the line.
“Where else can you find a 21-year-old who scored seven goals on the trot and fill the shoes of Joe?
“There are not many around, so fair play to everybody concerned.”
Bruce confirmed that Willock would be signing a six-year contract to return to St James’ Park.
Newcastle bid for Serie A winger
It has been a slow summer for Newcastle. But with Willock about to complete his transfer, the wheels could be in motion for further deals.
As Bruce referenced, their patience is paying off. But time is running out for them to get any more signings across the line.
One player they are targeting is Roma winger Carles Perez, who may be made available by Jose Mourinho.
However, the Magpies will have to fend off competition from two Italian clubs if they are to sign the Spaniard…