Steve Bruce reveals Joe Willock's view on his Newcastle United move after midfielder signs six-year deal
Steve Bruce has given his verdict after Joe Willock agreed a six-year deal at Newcastle United.
The midfielder is undergoing a medical after the club agreed a deal worth more than £20million with Arsenal last weekend, and Willock, 21, could be registered in time to play in Sunday’s season-opener against West Ham United at St James's Park.
“He’s having a medical as we speak, so we hope that comes through OK,” said head coach Bruce. “He’ll be able to train with us this afternoon.
“We knew we’d have to be patient. We’ve made it pretty obvious that if Joe was going to become available, then we’d try to secure him. I knew Mikel (Arteta, Arsenal’s manager) would want to have a look at him in pre-season, that’s normal. We knew we had to be patient."
Newcastle had initially enquired about re-signing Willock – who scored eight goals for United last season – on another loan.
"Obviously, we explored the loan situation to begin with, because I think that would have suited Joe and us,” said Bruce.
“But when that wasn’t possible with Arsenal, we’ve had to go and buy him, which is great for us. Fair play to Lee (Charnley, United’s managing director) and everybody concerned, we’ve managed to get it over the line.
"The key to it is that Joe himself wanted to come back. We’ve had to be patient, but he’s been worth the wait.”
“I’ve always said that if Joe became available, we'd buy him. I wanted to keep that door open for as long as we could. Where else could you find a 21-year-old who scored seven goals on the trot, and fill the shoes of Joe."
Willock will become the club’s first summer signing when the deal is completed.
"We want to see where he is and what he’s up to,” said Bruce. “And for Joe, I’m sure it’s been a hectic few days, so to get him out on the grass, that's what the plan is. We’ve got to get him registered by 12 o’clock today. We hope that’s going to be the case, and then we'll see where he’s up to.
"Let’s not forget we all want him available for West Ham, but we've now got him for the next six years, which is great.”