Newcastle United are prepared to fork out the £22 million asking fee for Arsenal star Joe Willock this summer.
According to The Telegraph, Newcastle United are ready to take a leap of faith by meeting Arsenal’s price tag for Joe Willock. The young midfielder impressed on loan at St. James’ Park during the second half of last season, with his performances convincing the club to splash the cash despite a depleted budget.
Arsenal themselves are happy to cash in on Willock, knowing the departure of the youngster could go a long way in helping them fund their own top targets in the summer. They are already in talks to prise away Marco Asensio from Real Madrid, although they face stiff competition from Liverpool.
A product of the Arsenal youth academy, Willock joined Newcastle United in January in search of regular game-time. He was not shown complete faith by Mikel Arteta, perhaps rightly so, as the midfielder was indeed quite underwhelming in games against tough oppositions.
However, the 21-year-old has shown his calibre at the Tyneside outfit, thriving during the second half of last season. It appears Steve Bruce’s tactical game brought the best out of the offensive midfielder, who scored eight goals in just 14 league matches, echoing the success Jesse Lingard enjoyed at West Ham, also on a short-term loan deal.
Newcastle are thus willing to meet Arsenal’s price tag for Willock, knowing the Englishman could go a long way in solving their lack of productivity in the final third. His departure might not faze the Gunners, though, as the youngster was never really an ideal fit for Arteta’s tactical setup at Emirates.
Moreover, the recent emergence of Emile Smith Rowe would have made it considerably difficult for the 21-year-old to get regular minutes under his belt next season. Yet, Willock is yet to come with a definitive decision over his future.
It appears the playmaker is waiting for Arsenal’s success in the transfer market. It is no secret that the Gunners are on the hunt for a new number ten and are even exploring the possibility of re-signing Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid.
However, failing to sign a proper playmaker should provide Willock with the opportunity to potentially fight for a place in the first team. Arteta himself won’t exactly be averse to keeping him in the squad given his impact at Newcastle United last season, so it will be interesting to see what the future holds for the Englishman this month.
On a rather interesting note, Newcastle United are eyeing a shock move for former Arsenal superstar Aaron Ramsey as a potential alternative for Willock – a move that will certainly raise a lot of eyebrows in the English market.