Joe Willock’s loan spell in the north east has been nothing but an incredible success.
The midfielder’s goals helped keep Newcastle comfortably adrift of the relegation places, and he’s even written himself into Geordie history, after matching Alan Shearer’s record of scoring in seven consecutive league games for the magpies.
That’s some feat for a player whose career was in need of a little rejuvenation after struggling for consistent game time in north London.
Now, instead of returning to Arsenal with little prospect of a future with the Gunners, the 21-year-old has sent as good a message as he possibly can to Mikel Arteta that he is ready to be the goalscoring midfielder the club so desperately needs.
While Shearer will be wishing for Willock to sign for Newcastle permanently, Arsenal legends will be hoping he can replicate that same form in a red and white shirt.
In the build-up to what was – potentially – the Englishman’s last game for Newcastle, Paul Merson said: “Three weeks ago maybe, you’re looking and thinking, what’s he gone there for, he’s sub for Newcastle now, and now he’s just beat the record [by becoming the youngest player to score in six consecutive games].”
And the former Gunner believes that Willock should return to Arsenal because he has a chance of playing in the midfield of a bigger club.
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“If he comes back now, he’s got to be in the team,” he told Sky Sports. “No disrespect to Newcastle, but Newcastle are not above Arsenal and we’ve got to be honest with that.”
However, there is no guarantee that he will get regular game time on his second go of things. If that’s how things eventually end up, Merson believes Willock should move on.
“I would come back and have a go. I would 100% come back and say, you know what, I want to give it a go at Arsenal, and if he isn’t in the team in six months, your agent goes in, or he goes in and goes “you know what, I’m never gonna make it at Arsenal.”