What’s the story?
Football Insider recently claimed that Willock had told friends he wants to stay on Tyneside next season after a successful loan spell, while The Guardian suggested manager Steve Bruce believes there’s a deal to be done for around £20m.
However, given the loan arrangement did not include a permanent option, The Mirror have claimed that Newcastle are ‘vulnerable’ to The Gunners opting to hike up his £20m valuation as a result of his good form since moving in February.
Are Arsenal in a strong position?
Yes but perhaps a saving grace is the strange circumstances this summer’s transfer window is taking place in.
While Willock is a developing English player – a status that usually comes with a transfer premium – with a long-term deal at the Emirates Stadium, perhaps a post-pandemic market means Newcastle could tempt Arsenal into selling should they have the cash ready to go. Indeed, The Sun claimed in February that the 21-year-old could be sold by the London giants as part of a major revamp of their playing staff as Mikel Arteta’s overhaul continues.
That report suggested Arsenal want to cut their costs to focus on major signings as they weigh up whether or not to try and sign Martin Odegaard on a permanent basis themselves.
Should Newcastle pay top dollar for him?
Clearly, this summer will be difficult given St. James’ Park hasn’t had fans in it since the 0-0 draw with Burnley before the Premier League was suspended last March but Willock does look worth the money.
Already proven in this Newcastle team, his fourth goal in ten games for the club doesn’t even tell the whole story. With Bruce’s side lacking much in the way of midfield drive prior to his arrival, the England U21 man has brought with him a new dynamic, in that he also averages the second-highest number of tackles per game (1.9, via WhoScored) too.
Making an impact in both an attacking and defensive sense, Newcastle would be crazy not to attempt to sign him again.