Joe Willock is in excellent form for Newcastle right now.
The Arsenal loanee scored another crucial goal for the Magpies, popping up with a 95th minute equaliser against Liverpool.
It’s his third goal in as many games and takes his tally up to four since his January move to Steve Bruce‘s side. In that time the 21-year-old’s goals have earned four additional points for Newcastle in their attempt to beat the drop.
Despite his tremendous performances though it is unclear whether he still has a future with the Gunners when he returns to the Emirates at the end of this season.
He was behind the likes of Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey, Dani Ceballos and Mohamed Elneny in his preferred midfield position, while Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard have impressed in the number 10 role Willock played for Arsenal earlier this season.
As a result he has been linked with a permanent move to Newcastle in the summer, with Steve Bruce having admitted that he would like to keep the 21-year-old.
“I think Joe’s thoroughly enjoying it here,” said the Magpies boss on Friday
“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 [Willock] is as quick as anyone at this club.”
“He’s got a big future. He’s the right type, the right profile – you’d love to build a team around a young player like Joe. If there’s a chance to bring him here next season, I’d love to get it done.”
Reports suggest Newcastle would be looking to buy Willock for around £20 million in the summer and with money set to be tight at the Emirates, Arsenal may well be tempted to cash in on the Hale End graduate to fund other transfers.
However, Arteta has already indicated that he sees a future at the club for the 21-year-old after being impressed by what he’s seen during his loan spell.
“I’m really happy with Joe because he scored a massive goal for their club,” said the Spaniard after Willock’s late winner against West Ham last weekend.
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“So when he produces big moments like that, for a young talent like him it’s very satisfying.
“Joe can do it, he’s got the ability and the desire and now he needs more consistency in terms of minutes and performances.
“That’s great for his development and that’s why we believed it [the loan to Newcastle] was the right option.”