Would that price tag be fair?
Based on the quality of his performances so far, you’d have to say yes.
Three goals in nine games for the club have helped Newcastle turn the tide of the relegation battle after months of lamenting from the likes of The Athletic that Bruce’s team lacked drive in the middle of the park.
Having only penned a long-term deal at Arsenal in 2019, Willock obviously has the tag of a developing English player to add to as well, making £20m seem like a reasonable price in a post-pandemic market.
Still, Football Insider reported yesterday that there are doubts as to whether the club could have that sort of money to spend.
What has Bruce said about him?
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s meeting with Liverpool – a game Newcastle can surely afford not to sit back and defend deeply considering their recent run of good form and the fallen Premier League champions’ poor record at Anfield this season – Bruce waxed lyrical about the England U21 international.
“I think Joe’s thoroughly enjoying it here,” he said
“There’s a lot of conversations to be had but why wouldn’t we want to sign him? He’s 21, he’s young, fit, athletic, he can score a goal and he’s got wonderful pace. Arguably Joe is as quick as anyone at this club.”
What else has Willock brought to the team?
Aside from just his goals, Willock has helped Newcastle develop much more of a dynamic thrust through the middle of the park.
According to WhoScored data, only Isaac Hayden averages more in the way of tackles per game, as well as interceptions over the same period, and only Allan Saint-Maximin and Jacob Murphy beat him for dribbles.