Bruce informs Arsenal of Willock transfer plan and rules out Newcastle exit for Saint-Maximin

The Magpies boss, who is also waiting on discussions regarding his own future, is hoping for a productive summer at St James’ Park

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce says a permanent deal for Joe Willock will be discussed this summer, while suitors of Allan Saint-Maximin have been warned that the winger is not for sale.

The Magpies are in a position where they can start planning for next season after hitting form at the right time and dragging themselves clear of the relegation zone.

Willock, who has hit five goals through 11 appearances during a productive loan spell at St James’ Park, is among those to have sparked a resurgence and Bruce is eager to see the 21-year-old midfielder remain on Tyneside.

What has been said?

Asked about Newcastle’s plans for Arsenal-owned Willock, Bruce told talkSPORT: “All of us would love to [make it permanent].

“He’s 21, a midfield player and he’s got five goals since the turn of the year, so of course we want him – but we have to respect that he’s Arsenal’s player.

“I’m sure Arsenal will have big discussions this summer, but if there’s a possibility that we can bring him back we’d love to do it.”

What about Saint-Maximin?

Allan Saint-Maximin Newcastle 2020-21

While Newcastle are eager to see Willock move through arrivals this summer, efforts are being made to ensure that key men do not head for the departure lounge.

French winger Saint-Maximin is attracting plenty of interest, with his direct running and quick feet earning plenty of praise, but the 24-year-old is considered to be a key part of long-term planning at St James’ Park.

Bruce added on a prized asset: “I said when we signed him he was going to be someone who gets you off the edge of your seat and how often do you feel like that about an individual player?

“He has wonderful natural ability and it wouldn’t surprise me if other teams are looking because his ability is there for everybody to see.

“He is right. Nobody wants Newcastle to be in a relegation fight.

“He is a very gifted individual and young, of course. The last thing we want to be doing is selling our better players that is for sure.”

Will Bruce be staying put?

Bruce is hoping to work with Willock and Saint-Maximin in 2021-22, but questions have been asked of his ongoing presence in the Newcastle dugout.

He has a contract through to the end of next season, but discussions will be held this summer about whether he remains the right man to guide the Magpies forward.

The 60-year-old said of his own future: “It is for others to decide.

“Most clubs will have big discussions and review the season. I am a football person and it is still too early to retire yet. But those conversations will happen over the next couple of weeks, I am sure.”

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