Joe Willock ‘tells Arsenal he wants Newcastle return’ as Gunners open to £15m transfer

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Arsenal have reportedly told Joe Willock that he is free to pick his own destination next season, as he won’t be promised regular playing time at the Emirates. The 21-year-old midfielder supposedly wants to return to Newcastle United on loan for the upcoming season, after spending a successful spell there last year.

Playing the odd game for Arsenal at the start of the season, he was eventually loaned out in the January transfer window.

Making 14 Premier League appearances for the Magpies, Willock scored an impressive eight goals for the club.

This spell at Newcastle proved to be their saviour, as the youngster had an important role in securing their escape from relegation last season, making Willock quite the hero on Tyneside.

After this week’s pre-season friendly against Hibernian, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said: “He’s our player and in the time that he is here we will try to make the most out of him.”

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Judging from that summation, Willock’s future with the Gunners doesn’t look all that rosy.

Talks between Newcastle and Arsenal have begun about another loan deal according to 90min, and the Gunners are keen to include a £15million obligation to buy clause in any agreement.

However, notorious owner Mike Ashley is unwilling to approve any major signings this season, as the club’s finances have been heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Ashley is also holding out hope that the Premier League’s block on the proposed Saudi Arabian takeover might get overturned, so he won’t spend at all until that decision is concrete.

If Newcastle manage to secure the return of Willock on loan despite all the drama of the ownership situation, then that would be seen as a real win for the club.

They’ve had a torrid time in recent years with owner Ashley, and it looks like a change of hands is finally what is needed for Newcastle.

Willock could be the young prospect that reinvigorates Newcastle’s fortunes, which he clearly showed he had the potential to do last season.

Arteta has appeared to suggest that Willock does not suit his long-term plans for Arsenal, and that might not be a bad thing for the youngster.

Many young talents are pressured too soon and too quickly at big clubs, and some find it easier to find a mid-to-bottom level club to really find their feet first.

He made 44 first-team appearances for the Gunners during the 2019-20 campaign but was unable to perform as well as he did at Newcastle.

It seems it all rests on either Arsenal allowing just a loan again, or the ownership crisis at Newcastle being resolved for Willock to get his desired move.

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