Joe Willock was an absolute sensation up in Newcastle when he went to St James Park on loan last season, and all summer Steve Bruce has made it clear that he is desperate for Willock to return to Tyneside.
But Arteta has been very coy about any talks regarding Willock, but he refused to say whether he was going to be staying either. Arteta told Arsenal.com when asked about departures for Willock, and Bellerin: “I don’t know. I’m going to coach them and train them, and respect and look after everybody because they are our players. Hopefully they can have their minds here and prepare here because they are Arsenal players and our job is to make them as good as we can.”
But today, the respected UK Broadsheet the Daily Telegraph has revealed that not only have Arsenal put a price on Willock’s head, but Newcastle have agreed to pay the asking price.
Telegraph Sport understands that, while Newcastle’s transfer budget is small, they want him so badly that they will pay the £22m asking price for Willock.
They also go on to say that the ball is now in Willock’s court and he could yet decide to stay at the Emirates and fight for his place in Arteta’s starting XI, but Bruce has recently said that he can’t wait for ever for the player to make up his mind.
Arteta did give Willock a half hour run-out against Chelsea, and the 21 year-old scored the equalising goal towards the end but the referee bizarrely refused to believe that the ball had crossed the line.
Arsenal are desperately in need of a goalscoring midfielder themselves, so I find it hard to understand why he should not play Willock regularly this season to see if he can emulate the form he showed at Newcastle, but perhaps Arteta would prefer to put the cash towards paying for Martin Odegaard, which still seems to be a possibility…