Joe Willock has lifted the mood at Newcastle United after a gloomy summer

Finally, some positivity.

Joe Willock.
Joe Willock.

Joe Willock is set to complete a permanent move to Newcastle United after long-running talks with Arsenal reached a conclusion.

Willock’s arrival – he will be the club’s first signing of the summer – is welcome ahead of Sunday’s season-opener against West Ham United.

The 21-year-old midfielder helped Newcastle over the Premier League finish line last season with eight goals – seven of them were scored in successive games – and he’ll bring some much-needed dynamism to Steve Bruce’s midfield.

Willock’s signing, however, won’t even mean the squad is as strong as it was in the second half of last season, as Andy Carroll (and the unused Christian Atsu) have left the club.

United need to get more players through the door before the transfer window closes, though Steve Bruce has suggested that a striker won’t be arriving.

Bruce – who left Matty Longstaff on the bench against Norwich City on Saturday – is looking for another midfielder as well as a defender.

The futures of Longstaff and his elder brother Sean are seemingly in the balance, with both players now in the final years of their contracts at the club, which has sold Florian Lejeune this summer, reached a settlement with Yoshinori Muto and is set to bank more than £5million from Adam Armstrong’s move from Blackburn Rovers to Southampton.

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Newcastle look vulnerable to injuries to Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin, but the focus is seemingly on midfield and defence. United will look to use their two domestic loan slots to shore up these positions. Willock’s arrival is a big positive, but the squad has not yet been strengthened overall.

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