Joe Willock matched a 25-year record for Newcastle United on Sunday with his goal against Fulham.
Few predicted that Willock would have such a profound impact at St James’ Park, but after netting seven times in seven games for the Magpies – from midfield it must be added – he matched a stat originally set by Newcastle’s greatest ever striker, Alan Shearer, back in 1996.
It’s fair to say, then, that the Arsenal man’s value has deservedly increased since signing in January.
The north London-born midfielder has probably even surprised himself by his success, and may feel that he deserves a chance to show Mikel Arteta what he can do in an Arsenal shirt when he returns.
If that is the outcome he is hoping for, his argument could be strengthened by the fact that the Gunners’ current midfielders have struggled for goals all season.
As per Orbinho, fans have been made aware that Willock has now scored the same number of Premier League goals this campaign (8) as Emile Smith Rowe (2), Martin Odeegard (1), Gabriel Martinelli (2), Mohamed Elneny (1), Granit Xhaka (1), Willian (1), Thomas Partey (0) and Dani Ceballos (0) combined.
It’s clear that Arteta intends to add a goalscoring midfielder to his ranks as the overhaul of the Gunners’ squad starts to take place. The question is, does he really have to?
The Spaniard has tried – and failed – to fit Willock into his system in the past, but there’s no denying that he does rate the midfielder’s quality, and has previously suggested that he wants to keep him.
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Arsenal missed out on European football for the first time in 25 years on Sunday by just a single point – and there could be a case to say had Willock not been allowed to leave in January – and replicated his north east form at the Emirates – that could well have pushed the Gunners over the line.
We will know where Willock’s future lies soon enough, but in the meantime, Arsenal and Newcastle supporters should both applaud what he’s managed to do whilst out on loan, and should hope that he continues his form next season.