Joe Willock got his first run-out in pre-season on Saturday in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw at Rangers. Willock was part of six changes for the Gunners in the 64th minute.
Our next set of changes…
?? Holding, Elneny, Partey, Smith Rowe, Pepe, Aubameyang
?? Kolasinac, Willock, Maitland-Niles, Nelson, Willian, Nketiah#RFCARS ? 1-1 ? (64)
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) July 17, 2021
The midfielder was held back in Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat at Hibernian in mid-week. Mikel Arteta revealed afterward that he was not risked due to a minor groin issue. He also asserted that Willock was in his plans though it was a carefully worded response.
Newcastle are pushing to get the 21-year-old back on loan for this season. Recent reports claim Newcastle are confident that a deal could be struck but how soon is anyone’s guess.
Willock really enjoyed his spell on Tyneside last season and admitted a return could be an option after the final match of last season. It would make sense that if he’s not going to get guaranteed playing time next year at the Emirates, Newcastle would be his preferred destination.
The Chronicle have published the following from Football London’s Arsenal correspondent Chris Wheatley on Willock’s view of a return to Newcastle.
Willock really enjoyed his loan spell at Newcastle. He particularly liked living close to Northumberland’s sandy beaches and flourished under Steve Bruce who made him a key player in the team.
He is certainly keen on a move up there if it benefits his development and he’ll play regularly.
The next marker to watch for is when Arsenal jet off to America and if Willock joins them. They face Inter Milan in the Florida Cup on July 25th and will depart sometime next week. If a deal is at all close, Arsenal may not want to risk travel complications by bringing Willock to the states.
Arteta is in the process of rebuilding his squad and new signing Nuno Tavares scored a goal this afternoon. Arsenal are also very close to adding midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga from Anderlecht for around £17.5m.
The Gunners have reached an agreement in principle for Brighton’s Ben White in a £50m deal. Midfielder Granit Xhaka could be on his way out with him agreeing on personal terms with Jose Mourinho’s Roma. He is pushing for a move but no deal between the clubs has yet been reached.
There is a lot of movement at Arsenal at the moment that could impact Willock’s future. He’s not likely to get the game time he would at Newcastle and that could be the determining factor in him returning next season.