Potential Newcastle United summer transfer blow as Mikel Arteta opens door to Joe Willock Arsenal reintegration

Newcastle United’s summer transfer plans could be thrown into doubt with the news Mikel Arteta is open to welcoming Joe Willock back into the Arsenal first-team fold.

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 6:00 am

Willock was a peripheral figure for the Gunners in the Premier League prior to his January loan switch to the Magpies, a spell in which he has netted four goals, three of which have been in his trio of games.

And this success has caught the eye of Arsenal boss Arteta, who admits it has been no surprise to see the 21-year-old excel on Tyneside.

"No,” he said when asked whether it was a shock to see Willock grabbing the headlines at United. “Because he has got some great qualities, some unique qualities to play in that position.

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Newcastle United's English midfielder Joe Willock celebrates after scoring the equalising goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Newcastle United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on April 24, 2021.

"He is a real threat in the opponent’s box, physically he can do anything you ask for and has got the right mentality, is good technically and he is English.

“We knew all this but he needed game time, he needed to expose himself away from our environment and we believe as well that Newcastle, Steve (Bruce) and his staff is the right place for him to do that.”

When asked about the player’s future, Arteta added: “He has a chance. He is a player we really like so at the end of the season he will come back here and then we will make the decision again for what is best to move forward.”

An inevitable summer pursuit of Willock is likely to be complicated by the fact funds are set to be tight at United.

Boss Steve Bruce is likely to be managing a much-restricted transfer pot this summer, with the impact of Covid-19, rebates and a lack of fans in grounds set to be realised in the club’s upcoming accounts for 2020.

United are understood to already be exploring their options in the loan market and among those players coming to the end of their current deals, much like they did with Jeff Hendrick and Ryan Fraser last summer.

Willock, if allowed to depart, will likely be a player Arsenal look to sell, rather than loan out. And it remains to be seen whether United are in the market for £20m+ signings in the next window.

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