Willock is Newcastle United’s primary summer target following a successful half-season loan at St James’s Park. The 21-year-old scored eight goals as Steve Bruce’s side pulled away from relegation trouble in the final two months of the Premier League season.
The midfielder sat out Arsenal's 2-1 defeat to Scottish Premiership side Hibernian at Easter Road last night, and manager Arteta was asked about his absence from his matchday squad after the friendly.
“Well, he wasn’t involved today, because he had a little groin issue,” said Arteta. “He trained yesterday really well, but we didn’t want to risk him.
“Joe’s part of our plans – he’s our player – and in the time that he’s here, we’ll try to make the most out of him. He had a great experience on loan. He was, I think, one of the most important players for their survival.”
Bruce pledged to “test the resolve” of Arsenal to keep Willock in May.
"We’ll see over the summer whether we can test their resolve,” said United’s head coach. “He’s been great for us. He’s been great for Newcastle. He’s done well. Let’s see.”
Bruce and his players are in York preparing for Sunday's friendlies against York City and Harrogate Town. The club is yet to sign a player in this month’s transfer window, though Federico Fernandez, Dwight Gayle and Jacob Murphy have signed new deals, and Paul Dummett and Fabian Schar have had their contracts extended.