Despite some early murmurs of discontent, Steve Bruce has ended up keeping Newcastle in the Premier League with relative comfort – as they nurse a 12-point gap on relegated Fulham in 18th.
The Magpies took league winners Manchester City all the way in their last fixture, only losing out 4-3 thanks to a Ferran Torres hat-trick masterclass.
Amongst their three-goal-scoresheet was a familiar name – Joe Willock – the on-loan Arsenal central midfielder, who has netted six since joining in January including five in his last five Premier League games.
In that time, the 21-year-old’s goals alone won five points for his side after he bagged two late equalisers and a late winner in three successive substitute appearances, raising his stock significantly with fans of all clubs.
However, should they want to acquire his services on a permanent basis they will have to unload a serious fee on the Gunners, as football.london and transfer expert Fabrizio Romano report.
Romano claims that Arsenal want a fee of between £25m and £30m to even begin talks over Willock this summer window, and could suggest Arsenal might even want to keep their academy graduate – who has been at the London club since 2004.
The young midfielder is under contract at Arsenal until 2023 so the Gunners are in the driving seat surrounding his future, but Bruce has already revealed his interest.
The Newcastle boss said: “He’s enjoying his football.
“We have taken the reins off him and let him run forward and that was probably what we didn’t have enough of in January, that forward-running midfielder who likes to score. We’d love to keep him but he has got a big future.”
Whether Willock can eventually leave will likely come down to Arsenal’s business elsewhere – notably, can they keep or replace Martin Odegaard, on loan currently from Real Madrid.
But with the Arsenal academy graduate having proven his eye for goal in the Premier League, should he be snapped up by a team where he’s guaranteed a significant role to play – or would be it a significant oversight by Mikel Arteta and his club?