Opinion: Willock has impressed, does he fit into Arteta’s plans?

Joe Willock emerged as one of the best players in the Premier League for the second half of the just-concluded campaign at Newcastle United.

He joined the Magpies on loan in the January transfer window after struggling for a playing time at the Emirates.

The 21-year-old is highly rated at Arsenal and broke into the team under Unai Emery.

Bukayo Saka also got his breakthrough in the team by the Spanish manager, but Saka has made more progress.

Willock looked to have found favour with Mikel Arteta when the Spaniard was initially made the manager of Arsenal in 2019 and played some games in the 2019/2020 season.

However, this season was a tough one for him at Arsenal and he left for Newcastle.

He has become a cult hero at Steve Bruce’s side with their supporters singing for him to stay at the end of the season.

He scored eight league goals for them and seven in his last seven league appearances.

His time in the North East was hugely successful and, understandably, Mikel Arteta has said that he would get his chance to play for the Gunners next season.

But does he fit into the Spaniard’s style? 

Arteta has a picture in mind of how he wants his Arsenal team to play and that helps him to buy the players that he needs.

I can imagine that he would feel the need to play Willock now because he shone on loan at Newcastle.

But I think we would be better off cashing in on him for the right price and buying a player like Martin Odegaard, whom we all know that Arteta loves and has proven to fit into his plans.

An article by Ime

Tags Joe Willock


  1. YES he has to…..he will contribute with goals physicality and strength…..I rememer him impressing in a defeat to liverpool in the league and in the 5-5 League Cup with a cracker of a goal

    1. So who would sit bench then? Xhaka or ESR?

      Reality is that he’ll likely be used as a sub the majority of the time by MA if Xhaka is still here

  2. i see what you trying to do, trying to make arteta look like his the reason willock wasnt performing at arsenal. Whose idea was it fo him to go out loan, and beside willock let arteta when played in epl you know especially starting.
    Arteta definitely wants goals from his midfield, or have’nt you notice the amount of long shot we take per match.
    (sighs) another agenda fulfilling article.

    1. Why let him go on loan, he could have contributed to our midfield goalscorers, we haven’t got any. Poor decision for Arsenal and a great one for Newcastle. Should have been in Arsenals midfield not Newcastle.

  3. Let’s hope that Arteta will allow him to play with the kind of freedom and confidence that Steve Bruce showed to him. But firstly , Arteta must get rid of Willian and Ceballos to give the young talents opportunities to play. They are passionate about the club that nurtured them and want to help.

    1. Those you mentioned are not even part of the starting yarn any longer, when did any of them start

        1. Get a really good CDM, and partner him with Willok as a B2B player. If we need to progress upwards, Xhaka (although improved), Elneny (works hard running around in circles and that one odd shot at goal), Partey (total let down from his performances at AM), Odegard (silent spectator in crucial matches) are not the type.
          Four solid defenders (Tierney/Holding/ Marri/Chambers) we have, we need proper understudies to them for which we need to groom the U23s. Need a CDM, and a tall towering striker. Hopefully Bellerin, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Elney, Cabellos, Odegard, Laca, Willian, Eddie may not be there next season. We have plety of wide attacking options – Martenelli, Auba, Saka, Pepe. Need a good striker, a CDM and a back up for Tierney, ESR. If Leno can use the preseason and gel with his defenders then good or else look out for a GK too

  4. His goals will be useful, we’ve lacked goals from midfield since Ramsey’s departure, but I’ll like to see him improve the playmaking aspects of his game too if he’s to be an Odegaard replacement…

  5. Pls, It’s Willock and ESR to compete for Attacking midfielder’s position..
    The other two midfielders being Bissouma n T. Partey.
    Odergaard should go back to RM, alongside Ceballos!! They are too lightweight, nervous n Lazy to play in our team.
    Reminded me of Denis Suarez.
    How do we get diz la liga midfielders????
    Look@Bruno Fernandez of Man utd. Hardworking, great passer of the ball n strong winning spirit..
    Enough said..
    Get Willock back!!

    1. Willock is more of box.to-box with eyes for goals, that’s why am doubting he will fit into the style because MA doesn’t like his midfielder too far from defenders

  6. If Arteta could use Ramsey before he left for Juve , he will use , my concern is the form, if he fails to replicate that at Arsenal then it’s going to be a huge headache. It’s not like we haven’t seen him play for us, almost all of us have suggested we sell him off at one point, so don’t put too much pressure on him

    1. 100%….it’s amazing how different a player can perform when playing for someone that believes in him, can coach and gives him freedom

  7. Willock plays directly behind the striker as a number eight behind the in the current magpies set up. He also has the freedom to roam towards the right wing of pitch.That really played to him strength and allows him to get into dangerous places, hence the outrageous amount of goals he scored. If he comes back to arsenal , he would have saka,smith Rowe and Pepe to contend with for those center and right midfield positions and he ranks lower that everyone of those aforementioned in the current clime.This will place undue pressure on the young lad which might rob him of the confidence that as allowed him excel at newcastel.so I think he needs another season on loan at Newcastle to help him continues his progression and build up is confidence to a level where he would not be daunted if giving more responsibilities on his return to arsenal.

  8. We need money from sales 1st and foremost, AMN could get us some money along with Elneny, Torreira & Matteo. Willock could then come in as Danny is away back to Madrid with Martin.

    We still need Bissouma and another creative player as Willian,Eddie and one of Laca or Auba will be leaving to which will also bring in money from sales to replace.

    Balogun takes Eddie’s place, Martinelli for Willian & funds to be used for meeting attacker.

    Saliba comes in for Luiz, Bellerin & Kolasnic sale to help funds for new wing backs. Mavraponas is another who may end up going on loan to Stuttgart for a year.

    Arsenal need a big summer here.

  9. Ceballos, Odegaad all don’t score yet you propose that we get rid of a midfielder who has a knack for scoring

    He scored more goals than all our midfielders combined

  10. I think if he can command about £30 mill, that money would really help bring in a better midfielder. If Newcastle think that they will get him for a song….keep him.

  11. under our current manager and his slot-like tactics, Willock is only a “come off the bench” contributor, which would be a highly valued asset for most teams hoping to compete for things, but likely not the case for a middling team facing considerable financial constraints….with this in mind, if someone came knocking with a serious offer in hand, I can totally see Arteta taking the money without thinking twice

    1. Couldn’t have said it better. MA will bench him and he’ll only start due to team fatigue or injury.

      I want Willock in the team but under MA I can’t see him contributing like he does at Newcastle. For the kids own sake I hope we sell him and he flourishes wherever he goes.

    1. With regards to Bissouma, we’re said to be ‘looking at other options’…. so watch him end up at Pool!!!

  12. If Arteta doesn’t want to use Balogun and is reluctant to start with Martinelli, he will need someone with an eye for goal, even though Willock isn’t a recognised striker. Goals have been a problem for Arsenal and Arteta can’t afford to pass on this one. In any case Newcastle wouldn’t be willing to pay Willock’s true worth, which must be north of £40m.

  13. Joe is a young guy, who need a real coach/ manager like Steve Bruce behind him. Not a dreamer like Farteta, Free Joe Willock. Let him shine up north.

  14. Given Joe Willock’s performances under the supposedly poor Steve Bruce at Newcastle United, where he was given the freedom to play to his strengths, should Mikel Arteta not see him as part of his plans, that says more about Arteta than Willock.
    Surely, given Arsenal’s financial constraints it is up to the manager to build a team based on a system of play, that maximises the player assets at his disposal?

  15. I say sell him while his value is high. He does not have the quality to succeed at a big club. He is not good at shirt or long passes and struggles to score as well. He is just good at running that’s it. He has been given enough chances by different managers and he has failed to impress. I don’t see him fit into Arsenal in any way and form. Ramsey was a better goal scorer and passer then Wilock and even then ppl wanted him out, he was deemed as liability. Most of the people talking about his return where the same people asking for his head and saying how poor he was when he was played this season by Arteta. I am afraid it’s end of the line for willock, Nelson and AMN, AMN I would have kept because of his versatility.

    1. Logic, Willock “struggles to score” maybe at Arsenal, but not at Newcastle United, where he scored 7 goals in 7 straight games. Willock has scored more goals this season under Steve Bruce than all midfielders at Arsenal combined over 2 seasons.
      Is that a “fluke” or due to the coaching, given both Newcastle United and Arsenal play in the EPL against the same opposition?

  16. Sell him. Didn’t have the basic tools to be a high level player from what we saw from him at arsenal. I understand players develop but he did not develop THAT fast. Hit while the iron is hot and dont look back.

    1. Spot on … another average player enjoying a sugar rush … if we can get 25m plus for him would be madness not to sell … add xhaka bellerin guendhouzi torreira and one of lacazette or aubemayang (probably the latter imo) should give us a good pot to buy a RB AM striker and support LB

  17. To me, he is the among the best midfielder in the PL at moment. Definitely better than what we have.
    Who will we buy thar can replace his goal scoring form. To me he has to play behind Laca. If we can get 10 PL goals from him, we will have a good season. Based on his form, I WILL not go for any no 10. Will go for Bissoma and Arrons. That ca be funded by selling other players. I have more money then will go for Zaha
    Zaha Willock Pepe
    Partey Bissoma
    Trienny Gabriel Saliba Arrons

    Goals will come and will have defensive solidity. We may not be able to control games

  18. Willock, Martinelli, Saliba all are fit to play in any reasonable system. It is actually Mr. Arteta who doesn’t fit.

  19. As long as Arteta doesn’t play him in wrong positions and restricts him on the field then Willock should be awesome for us

    1. Be careful how you spill out some names or you are at risk of having your comment deleted.
      This site is becoming a joke with few names hijacking it making themselves feel more relevant and knowledgeable than others while in reality they are sh!t

  20. Willock has upped his value and Arsenal should show good business acumen and capitalise on him. His stock has risen dramatically and we should strike whilst the iron is hot. If we could get between £20-£30 million, that money would buy some quality player real estate. It’s time for shrewd business. Willock is a good player but may not suit Arteta’s ‘build from the back’ football.

    1. Lingard for example in man u and westham
      That doesn’t mean Steve Bruce has done something exceptional to willock…he has played under Wenger,emery and now arteta…I could remember vividly then when emery do give him chance over chances and even started him in big matches against Liverpool and city……
      It opportunity for Arsenal to get cool cash and do great business

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