When Joe Willock left Arsenal to join Newcastle United on loan for the remainder of the season back in February few would have predicted him to discover the sheer level of form that he has since found.
The Gunners academy graduate, who turns 22 later this summer, has played a key role in the Magpies’ fight against avoiding relegation to the Championship.
After scoring on his debut for the club in a dramatic 3-2 win against Southampton at St James’ Park, Willock became an instant hit with the Newcastle fans, as they felt that he could add an attacking spark from midfield to increase Steve Bruce’s side’s goals tally.
However, the Gunners academy graduate then hit a sticky patch, going six games without scoring.
However, in the six matches that have followed that barren run in front of goal, Willock has been in the form of his life, scoring in six consecutive Premier League matches, with his latest strike securing a 1-0 win over Sheffield United on Wednesday evening.
Unsurprisingly, his current fortunes, which have been nothing short of sensational, have been the catalyst for Newcastle supporters to plead with the club to try and land him on a permanent basis this summer, something that boss Bruce is keen on.
Confirming that the Magpies will look to sign the midfielder on a permanent deal this summer, Bruce said: “We will see over the summer whether we can test their resolve.
“But as I said from day one, I would like to thank Mikel and Steve Round on the football side of it, because, obviously, they were instrumental in me getting him and letting us borrow him for a few months.
“He has been great for Newcastle and he has propelled himself. It is quite remarkable. Will done to Joe.”
But whilst Bruce may wish to land the midfield ace on a permanent deal, he may not have things all his own way, with Gunners boss Mikel Arteta confirming his plan to involve him in the first-team squad next season.
Speaking this morning, Arteta said: “I’m really happy that things have gone so well for him because of the potential that Joe has.
“I think it was great for him to go away and have a different experience. He has grabbed that opportunity in a really remarkable and positive way.
“He will be back with us, we will have those conversations with him and plan the next years for him.”
Therefore, that statement could signal the end of Bruce’s hopes of signing Willock on a permanent basis.
However, the Newcastle boss will now be hoping that his chairman – Mike Ashley – can back him financially to pull off a deal that would almost certainly be met with a wave of appreciation from the fans.
That is because Ashley’s wealth, according to the Times Rich List 2021, has soared by a massive £769million this year, meaning he could theoretically invest some of that wealth into the club and help Newcastle bring in some new faces this summer, including Willock.
Despite the pandemic, Ashley has jumped 14 places on the list this time around after a year in which his fortune has risen by £769million. Although the high street has been one of the biggest casualties of the pandemic, The Times say that Ashley is “one of the few high-street goliaths whose empire has not fallen apart at the seams.”
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With that in mind, if Ashley is prepared to increase the size of Bruce’s transfer kitty this summer, it could see the Magpies flash pound signs in Arsenal’s face to try and land Willock on a permanent deal.
In total, the midfielder, who had made 17 appearances for Arsenal this season prior to joining Newcastle, has scored seven goals in 13 appearances for the north east outfit.