Arsenal Debate – Should we really sell or swap Joe Willock to get Maddison?

I am getting a little confused as to why Arsenal would be willing to let Joe Willock leave for 25m, while trying their damnest to sign Leicester’s James Maddison for 60m or more.


Today the Mirror is reporting that the Gunners have offered Willock as a makeweight to tempt Leicester into selling James Maddison, but I am not sure that this is such a good deal for Arsenal.

Willock scored 8 goals in 15 games for Newcastle in the second half of last season, while Maddison scored 8 goals from 31 appearances for Leicester in the whole of the campaign.


I understand that Arteta feels that Maddison may fit his new system more, but for me, a youngster that has been brought through the Arsenal Academy and played alongside Saka, Smith-Rowe and our other graduates, while being taught the Arsenal Way, should be kept and used on a regular basis, especially as he has finally found his form and confidence to be a top player.

I think that anyone that buys Willock this summer, could easily find themselves with a player worth more than Maddison next year, especially if he continues his goalscoring exploits in the new season.


I have nothing against buying Maddison, and that is looking more and more likely that Arteta is determined to get him at any price, but I simply can’t agree that we should let Willock go to make that happen.


Who agrees?





Tags James Maddison Willock


  1. Because even though Joe Willock scored goals for Newcastle he still wasnt good enough to start. Often used as a super sub and well suited to Newcastles smash and grab tactics. That doesnt equate to success at Arsenal and it would be more beneficial to sell Willock and get Madderson as he improves our x11. Furthermore Maddison is leagues above Odegard who will be signed if we cannot offload Willock as hes 25 million pounds cheaper.

      1. Super-sub???

        Willock started 11 games, made 3 substitute appearances and scored 8 goals on loan at NUFC last season. He just happened to score on all his 3 sub appearances. Even 5 goals in 11 starts dwarfs the goal scoring record of all our CMs from last season.

        1. definitely a valid point VC…most top notch clubs have bench players who have the potential to hold the much-vaunted moniker of “super sub”, which is a role that shouldn’t be undervalued

          the bigger question is what would our amateur hour executives do with the funds, should they opt to sell JW

          if they are simply using them to cover some of the previous expenditures and not to replace him with a like-for-like option, then I would say don’t sell him

          if they’re earmarking some of these funds towards the speculative RAISE they appear to be offering the underwhelming Xhaka, I would say NO WAY

          on the other hand, if they’re going to use these monies to pursue a player whom they feel would provide some much-needed secondary scoring from within our midfield ranks, amongst other desirable skills, then I would definitely consider this possibility

          that said, I’m not sure I trust those in positions of power to properly identify and actually secure just such a player

          the fact is, one of the most debilitating aspects of our offensive tactics, or lack thereof, is the glaring lack of players we commit in and around the box, so it’s difficult to fathom getting rid of someone who clearly pursues that course of action on a regular basis

          1. Sadly, all those top-notch clubs, along with a much coveted “Super-sub”, have at least another top-notch Best XI in their squad to rotate with their first best XI for meaningless cups. Forget the super-sub. We, on the other hand, can hardly put one set of best XI from our bloated squad.

          2. we are in agreement regarding our shocking inability to establish a Best 11, which is a must for most viable contenders, but this is largely a byproduct of MA’s negative tactics, thus Xhaka’s regular selection and our glaring lack of a presence in the middle of the park, and our management’s seeming unwillingness to properly prioritize our transfer window acquisitions…in a best case scenario, we would shore up the midfield and keep JW as a plausible late game option, if and when the situation requires a logical change of tactics

          3. Having all the necessary talents in our squad and yet if we are uncertain about our best XI a week before the start of the new season, it’s not for lack of a creative talent in the middle of the park, but for the lack of creativity in the person who selects the players to put on the pitch.

          4. no doubt about that, except that gets us functionally nowhere…we can’t perform brain surgery on our junior manager, who appears to be bereft of ideas for our existing group, so we therefore must get players that would make him comfortable enough to emerge from this defensive cocoon he’s so intimately tied to…of course, he should have displayed the requisite courage and adopted a more direct approach, even without new recruits, but we clearly saw last season, minus the Chelsea affair and a very few others, this option was not within his comfort zone whatsoever…what a shame, as we really could have learned a lot more about our rostered players last season

      2. He is also a free kick specialist and didnt play half of last season. Goals are not everything if you create ample opportunities, not necessarily the final assist pass. He was 2nd to only KDB in goal involvements last year and played only half the season.

  2. No, because Willock could also offer some capabilities similar to Maddison’s

    Willock has also been playing with Smith-Rowe, Saka, Nketiah and Balogun for more than five years. He’s also been training with the senior players for more than two seasons, so he doesn’t need an adaptation period

    Maddison is a homegrown and a key player in a top EPL team, but he’ll surely need time to adjust at Arsenal. Odegaard will give us greater tactical flexibility than Maddison

    1. GAI well said.👌

      Willock should not be sold. We still need him. Mardison could need time to adjust to Arteta tactics.

      Hope Arteta doesn’t think otherwise.

    2. Honestly at GAI, I am worried about the kind of decisions the club is making.

      Maddison was this good because of the opportunities Leicester and Norwich game him.

      Why don’t we trust our own players? Willock has a lot of room for improvement.

      Why chase Maddison when you know how difficult it is to do business with Leicester? Maddision has a sell on clause which means Leicester will pay some amount to Norwich.

      Reis Nelson has the potential to be as good as Maddison if given a consistent run in the first team.

      Maddison deal makes no sense.

      Aoaur is available for 30m. We can get Bernardo Silva for 45m when Grealish joins Man City.

      I want arteta to revert to a 4141 formation

      Chambers White Gabriel Tierney


      Pepe Bernardo ESR SAKA


      I want us to have more creative midfielders.

      Aouar+Brernardo Silva (75m pounds for both) makes more sense than Maddisson for 70m pounds.

      1. Yup, Bernardo Silva could be available after Grealish joins Man City and he’ll also give us a lot of tactical options. I also agree that Nelson should’ve been given at least five games, to start as a CAM or LW

        1. When willock was getting minutes here pretty much everyone was calling for him to be sold ,he didn’t Perform to the standards which we except form an Arsenal player ,he’s done well at Newcastle and for me that is his level .
          If he stays I cannot see him getting many minutes playing so if we have been offered 22 mill I would rip their hands off .

          1. Willock lost the ball frequently when he played behind Lacazette/ Aubameyang and he couldn’t make through pass from the no 10 position, but he posed some good aerial challenges to the opposition’s CBs

            He seems to have understood that role better though, because he scored plenty of goals at Newcastle. We need to try him again at the CAM position, maybe he has improved his tactical awareness

          2. Perhaps Arteta does not know how to use the player.

            On a worse team (Newcastle) Willock shows his abilities; yet with Arsenal he struggled.

            Did his abilities disappear? Get lost?
            Or maybe rookie manager has no idea how to get the best from his players.

            Very little coaching to Arteta based on 18 months. He is every bit the checkbook type manager many despised before his hire.

          3. @Gai
            R. Smith was given several chances and the coach believed in him. I think R. Nelson and Willock should be given more chances too the boys has huge potentials selling them may come to hunt us like Martinez.. But when the coach doesn’t like you or see you in his plans there is nothing any fans can do. Saliba was sold because Arteta can’t see him in his plans not because he was bad. And to caught coaches some slack, all players wouldn’t be in their formation as he needs only 11 players ton the field.
            Fans will surely have their say after 6-8 games into the season. The downsides is that I pray Emirate stadium doesn’t become toxic atmosphere again because expectations will be high since fan are returning.

          4. @Sylva : Arteta did give Willock two EPL and several EL/ cup games to start as a CAM. Willock was excellent in those EL and cup games, but he couldn’t do much in the two EPL games last season

            If Arteta dares to take a high risk, he’d forget Willock’s performance last season and try Willock again in some cup matches this season. Willock must be willing to wait for the cup matches as well, otherwise he could go to Newcastle if he wants to be a starter in EPL

            About Nelson, he rarely got the chance to start as an LW last season, let alone as a CAM. I’m afraid his playing time would only increase if Nketiah and Willian leave

      2. Skills1000, you don’t improve a squad by selling your good up and coming players developed within the club and retaining non-performing players players, because they can’t be sold for a supposed appropriate price. These are the players, who need to be moved on to make room for the upgraded players Arsenal needs.
        It is a short term view to sell the future for potential short term success.

      1. Both scored the same amount of goals last season, but Willock started in much fewer games than Maddison

      2. mike, but there is better value out there for £60 million eg Aouar plus Guimaraes from Lyon plus change left over for Onana.

    3. That’s what I’m really concerned about, the adaptation time any player will take to adjust according to MA’s formation and tactics. On top of that, being able to show his best next to our players.

      Maddison was fabulous the previous season, he did some great work over there, but bear in mind that he wasn’t working with our team. Likewise, Willock showed his best in a team relying on one player like him. In my opinion, if we are not able to get Madison, we should target Auoar.

  3. I’m not one so obsessed with the James thing. He’s an excellent player but injury prone and the price tag is way too high. It’s not like he’s a fighter and die hard player like Jack Grealish. I’m of the opinion that Joe be kept as I see a player willing to prove that he belongs up there, and trust me he will be in not long a time

  4. For me, this is the right time to sell Willock. His stock is at its highest and there is a willing buyer. I am not sure he has what it takes to rise to the top as an Arsenal player.
    Maddison on the other hand is a proven PL quality. We need quality in this squad rather than numbers especially seeing we will be involved in less matches this season
    We shouldn’t repeat the mistake we made with Maitland-Niles who, I think; we should have sold last summer when Wolves wanted him at the height of his stock.

    1. @CorporateMan
      You are truly havin a laugh eh dude. Willock hasn’t even reached anywhere near his peak performance, while injury prone Maddison is close to being put out to pasture…😂

    2. I like Willock a lot as a player and he comes across as a good lad, plus he comes from my neck of the woods in London, I would love it if he was able to break through at Arsenal as Saka has done and ESR looks on his way to doing but unfortunately I agree with CorporateMan on this one

      Pat, turn the question around on yourself, do you think that Rodgers would prefer to lose Madison and gain Willock at this time?, forget the money, assume we can afford it and they don’t need it, so, straight comparison, are you saying that you believe that Joe Willock is a better Premiership player than James Madison right now?

      1. Hi FF,
        I think I clearly said “could easily find themselves with a player worth more than Maddison next year.”

        As for “right now” – we are not going to find out until we see how both have been playing in the first ten games of the season….

        1. Thanks Pat, but that doesn’t really answer the question does it, yes they could but does that mean you think Rodgers would do that now then, let us have Maddison and take Willock because “they could easily find themselves with a player worth more than Maddison next year”?

      2. Arsenal should stop indulging in fantasies like buying Odegaard , £70m for Madison & chasing after Ramsdale…Buy Aouar now!

  5. Don’t think we should even be going for Maddison.
    To much money . Not a great player and struggles to play regularly in the Leicester side.

    1. Ah the irony, Goonster of pointing out that maybe Arsenal doesn’t appreciate what they have?

  6. If selling Willock and buying Maddison leads to us qualifying for UCL group stages directly next season and no more passive football to watch this season, I’ll back this deal.

      1. The same odds when Edu, Arteta & Co handed Willian the three year lucrative deal and hailed they were going to win the Champions League before Willian’s contract is up.

  7. Arsenal is club full of managers with very poor judgment, that’s why we have a situation whereby a player dat has proven to score goals is not good enough, it’s hard to understand the reason why arsenal sent him on loan in the first place? the guy left arsenal and managed to prove that he can do it consistently and stil the club is confused 😳about keeping him

    1. We got rid of Gnabry and Martinez so this doesn’t surprise me

      BTW A lot of 💕💕💕 to the people of Greece. The wildfires are horrible

      1. Got rid of? Both had offers of new contacts so were sold when they didn’t want to renew/wanted to leave going into their final years. If they had been kept and left for nothing it would have been even worse.

      2. Stephanie, we Australians (also Americans and Canadians) know how horrific such fires are.

  8. Sell Willock and get Aouar simple
    Sell Elneny and get Daiwara simpe
    Sell Torera and get Yves/Bruno simple
    Sell Bellerin and get Max Aaron simple
    Sell Laca and Nketiah get Correa
    Sell Holding and Chambers and get Tapsoba
    Sell Kolasanic and Willian and get a future young star
    Sell Nelson and get Adam Traore
    Promote Hale youngsters
    Team sorted

    1. Let’s just replace Mr Arteta with Mr X and see if it works. Lot less hassle than to replace a dozen players.

      1. Diawara, simply trash
        Correa, simply average
        Traore, simply definition of inconsistency

        Why would you want sell average players to buy instant deadwood? Diawara doesnr even start for Roma!

      2. cheeky comment VasC, but well-deserved considering our present predicament

      3. VasC, keep an eye on Ange Postecoglou at Celtic, working with young players. He has a major rebuild on his hands. This guy can manage and coach football teams.
        Being Australian, I have followed his career, however Brendan Rodgers (previous Celtic Manager) knew him and speaks highly of him. Ange going to Celtic, has been like “Wenger who?” coming to Arsenal.

        1. THB, I’ve never heard of this guy until this summer. And for all the wrong reasons. Tierney’s beloved club Celtic has been kicked out of UCL and lost the Scottish season opener under this guy.

          But, i’m not going to pass a verdict on him just yet. Maybe it was due to the loss of their defensive stalwart Ajer from last season or the uncertainties surrounding the futures of many players in the squad. But, I hope he takes Celtic to where they truly belong in the future and make every Aussie proud, mate.

          1. VasC, every commentator on Celtic is very supportive and pleased with his approach so far. The Club has been decimated by the loss of experienced players, like Ajar. The loss in the Champions League qualifiers and the first league match against Hibernian was due to defensive errors and miss
            Ed scoring opportunities (sound familiar?). They could have easily won all three games.
            Most supporters appreciate the job Ange has undertaken and want the Celtic Board to support him in the transfer market. A number of experienced players like goalkeeper Joe Hart and James McCarthy have been brought in thus far.
            One of the first to speak up to provide recommendation for Ange before he arrived was Brendan Rodgers, which helped. Don’t worry as Rodgers said Ange is the real deal if given time, hopefully two seasons.

    2. @NAGO
      can you attach who will buy the players next to their names? This is not FIFA 11, its the real world, your comment is a bit amateurish. Nobody is willing to buy our players at the moment. Most clubs don’t have the money and are looking for cheap bargains/loans. so when you say “sell this and but that”, it seems you can’t tell the diff. btw the real transfer market and fifa11.

    3. Nah, sell xhaka and get Bruno guimaraes
      Sell elneny& torreira and get aouar
      Sell bellerin& soares and get Max Aaron
      Sell Pablo Mari and get tapsoba
      Sell holding and get tomiyasu
      Sell nketiah& laca and get lautaro Martinez
      Sell Leno& runar and get onana n woodman
      Sell arteta and get conte
      Sell kroenke and get another owner
      We gunners fans will be happy 😊

  9. Wilcock should stay. Madison must still learn and adapt to the arsenal style, Wilcock knows it by heart and will hit the turf running.

  10. IMO we don’t sell now we come back to regret like we are doing about Niles right now.
    He just doesn’t fit into Arteta syle of play, we must understand that.

    1. After players fit imaginary, in-the-air, Invisible and complex Arteta style of play, can you guarantee we are top 4 this season?

      1. In as much as he’s our coach we play to his style.
        Willock has shown the inability to be that ‘ball playing’ and creative player for the possesion based and midfield dominating style Arteta is trying to implement.
        No point holding on to him if he’ll be benched.

        1. And I’m not a fan of madison either. I feel he’s overpriced plus we need someone better.

  11. I’ve always rated Maddison but like most Brits overpriced at £60m. Grealish at 100m? Come on get real!! I think we should keep Willock and give him one more REAL opportunity to get in the first squad. If it doesn’t work we’ve got the January window.

    1. 👍 Keep Willock and spend the £60 million buying Aouar (ACM) and Guimaraes (DM) from Lyon with change left over to buy Onana as back up goalkeeper. Job done.
      Question: “Why did Arteta want Houssem Aouar for £50+ million last season, but not now for £20+ million, when Lyon need to sell?”

  12. Joe Willock just like Smith Rowe should stay at Arsenal. If Arsenal sells Joe Willock, We shall equally regret like we regret Selling the Argentinian Goalkeeper to Aston Villa and keeping Leno who is error prune
    So we must keep Joe Willock and let history not repeat itself.
    Work on what you have now to fill the blank spaces. Prepare for January while keeping your raw materials for a promising long future. Do not give you good seeds to rivals. Willock is Versatile in the real sense of the word.


  13. Personally I rate James Maddison…..but not for £60 million. Better to get Houssem Aouar for 25 mill and keep Joe Willock. Even go for little Matheus Pereira of WBA as well….he really ‘wants’ it. Some poor choices being made.. Little Matheus Pereira has a touch of Santi about him.

    1. Well said SW, I can’t fathom why MA & Edu would
      consider backing up the Brinks Truck to the King
      Power stadium when the likes of Pereria, Bissouma
      and Ohana could all be signed for similar money. MP
      was spectacular last year for a terrible WB squad, and
      wouldn’t displace ESR from the #10 role. He would
      provide fantastic competition and depth @ the

      Maddison is a very good player but his injury record
      and at times mercurial temperament IMWO are not
      what AFC need atm.

      1. Also, you cannot ignore the fact that giving Leicester City £60+ million, gives a club currently ahead of Arsenal, some serious purchasing power.

    2. not a bad option, but I believe he’s already taken a big money deal with Al-Hilal, a Saudi outfit

  14. spending 120m on white and maddison would be utterly crazy … throw in the 17m we gave up keeping xhaka and we could have gotten silva martinez and a quality partner for partey for that money … this lot are even more clueless than the emery crowd as far as i can tell

    1. RW1, it is a bit tough blaming Emery, as he had no say in transfers. As head coach he had to coach the players provided to him. Here’s hoping the current regime can make fifth place and a Europa League final again.

  15. In as much as he’s our coach we play to his style.
    Willock has shown the inability to be that ‘ball playing’ and creative player for the possesion based and midfield dominating style Arteta is trying to implement.
    No point holding on to him if he’ll be benched.

  16. we need to make a good,solid team first.A solid first xi.Unfortunately we have not the luxury to give play time to our beloved kids especially without european football.I believe Maddison is a player who can give us a boost.I would like an upgrade to right back too.I feel sorry but all of AMN,Eddie,Nelson and Joe cant help us now and some must sacrifice.

  17. for sure we have thos players wish has been counting for deal they are all good espacially joe n nelson. abaut james that man have experience is too good to have him in our hands cz we need a creater.

  18. I personally would have preferred to keep Willock but his progress up until his spell at Newcastle was not that impressive.

    In my opinion, we should try to resign Odegaard on loan and keep Willock. Give Willock a run in the squad and see if he can replicate his form for us. We have seen how our youngsters perform much better than senior members.

    As we all know though, MA has his favorites that no one can understand!

    1. GunneRay, maybe “his progress” was due to the different approach by Steve Bruce (apparently a poor manager) and Mikel Arteta, in how Willock was utilized?

  19. Kroenke pull your finger out and make a serious statement! Straight £75 million for Maddison and straight cash for Martinez and ffs keep willock.

  20. 1. Arteta is such a poor manager that he got this club in second place over the last 2/3 of the season, second only to Man City.
    2. Maddison is a good player, but seems injury prone. (That goes double for Diawara, by the way.) I think it’s Aouar’s turn.
    3. Willock scored, but can he play Arteta’s style? If he can, keep him. We need English players.
    4. I’d go all in for Lautaro. He seems like a good model of skill, effort, spirit and intelligence.
    5. But in general, I’d prefer to see the scoring spread rather than depending on one player.

  21. Willock wil get better but to do that him have to be playing week in week out. That’s not possible at arsenal at the moment..Maybe 3 to 4years time him can return to arsenal just incert a buy back clause in his contract

  22. hi to all
    there are plenty of other players out there. Willock had his chances sell him we need to move forward

  23. Arsenal hardly have room for Saka and ESR, so what hope do the other Arsenal youngsters have.

    What makes anyone think Reiss Nelson, Eddie N, Joe Willock or AMN will get a chance to play regular first team football this season.

    They will have to compete with Balogun and Nellie too.

    There is no European football this season, so the best they can hope for is to play in the early League and FA cup games or as come on as substitutes.

    If I were them I would move on to a team that really appreciates me!!

    1. Let’s put a bid in and see if we can’t get him second time of asking. Might have to sell Xhaka though to raise the funds!;))

  24. I rate this players as follows.
    1.Bernardo Silva
    2.James Madison
    Therefore if we sell Willock,the most sensible thing is to replace him with B.S who is cheaper &available

    1. Put the £60+ million wanted for James Maddison towards Houssem Aouar plus Bruno Guimaraes in a package deal from Lyon, with change left over for Onana, as back up goalkeeper. Three priorities filled for the price of one James Maddison.
      Also better to finance cash strapped Lyon than Leicester City, as who else is in for Maddison at the asking price?
      Keep Joe Willock and give him opportunities, even as an impact player or to back up when injuries occur.

  25. By the way, why does the latest charlie patino article seem to have disappeared from the site? It’s no longer listed under news and even doing an advanced Google search – “charlie patino”, only brings up the original article without comments.

      1. I have no idea what you ate talking about, but I will tell you that every comment that has a link in it is moderated as they are mostly spam…

    1. And look at that, the article has magically reappeared. For those of you in a different timezone its like nothing ever happened.

  26. No no to Willock going away from Arsenal. He is Arsenal through and through, playing well and will be a great asset to Arsenal. Madison is injury prone and has got disciplinary problems.

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