Willock deal puts Newcastle star in line for Benitez reunion at Everton

Joe Willock Newcastle

The imminent transfer of Joe Willock to Newcastle could see a Magpies midfielder link back up with Rafael Benitez at Everton, according to a report.

Willock has been the Magpies’ top target after scoring eight goals in 14 games during a loan spell last season. His impressive form helped to push Steve Bruce’s side away from the relegation zone and into a 12th-placed finish.

Willock’s journey in the north east looks set to continue as Newcastle have agreed a fee for his services.

According to The Athletic, they will part with more than £20m to sign him from Arsenal in the next few weeks.

Their report also provides an update on the future of Longstaff, who has been on the books at St James’ Park his whole career.

It’s believed that Everton boss Benitez is monitoring Longstaff’s situation ahead of a potential bid.

The Spaniard seems keen to reunite with the 23-year-old. They worked together during Benitez’s tenure at Newcastle between March 2016 and June 2019.

Longstaff would bolster his options in the centre of the park. Benitez can already rely on the likes of Abdoulaye Doucoure, Allan, Andre Gomes and Tom Davies.

Sean Longstaff

Longstaff will be pushed down the pecking order upon Willock’s arrival at Newcastle. He may be put up for sale as a result.

During pre-season, Bruce has said that he is ‘very short’ when it comes to midfield options.

But with Jonjo Shelvey, Isaac Hayden, Jeff Hendrick and the incoming Willock, it’s clear that Longstaff could spend plenty of time on the bench in 2021/22.

The Magpies will be expecting a big fee for the academy graduate. They previously handed him a £50m price tag amid reported interest from Manchester United.

The report adds that his younger brother Matty Longstaff, 21, might leave on loan.

Newcastle in for Liverpool defender

Willock isn’t the only player from a top six club that could be snapped up by Newcastle this summer.

Bruce is also interested in Liverpool centre-back Nathaniel Phillips. The 24-year-old is a favourite of Jurgen Klopp’s following his solid displays last term.

However, he is likely to receive less game time this season due to the £36m signing of Ibrahima Konate. As a result, Newcastle have ‘made contact’ with the Reds over Phillips’ availability.

Premier League rivals Burnley and Southampton will provide competition for his signature, as will German outfit Bayer Leverkusen, perhaps more surprisingly. Liverpool have set their asking price at £12-15m.

READ MORE: Chris Waddle defends prudent Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley