Numerous reports emerged late last week revealing Newcastle’s confidence that progress was being made over a loan move for Joe Willock. Some reports inferred that a deal could be struck as early as this week.
Arsenal are due to jet off to Orlando soon for Sunday’s Florida Cup against Inter Milan. At the moment, all indications are Willock will be with the squad.
The midfielder made a cameo in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw at Rangers on Saturday after being held back midweek with a groin problem. It remains likely that manager Mikel Arteta will use this pre-season to make a decision on his future rather than sanction an early loan back to Newcastle.
Steve Bruce was asked about his top target after yesterday’s friendly at York City. It appears that an agreement for Willock is not going to happen until later this summer if at all.
This is what Bruce said as published in The Chronicle:
“As I’ve said, it’s really Arsenal’s decision, and until Arsenal make a decision – a bit like all the big clubs, they have a look over pre-season – we’ll keep monitoring and badgering away.
“We’d love to do something but it’s still Arsenal’s call.”
Newcastle have been in contact but Arsenal have yet to make a call on Willock. Arteta confirmed over the weekend that he expects some new faces in this week. They are likely Anderlecht’s Sambi Lokonga and Brighton’s Ben White.
Whether any new signings at the Emirates impacts Willock’s situation is uncertain. Lokonga is a 21-year-old who would provide further competition in the midfield.
As for Newcastle, there are no new faces and, other than Willock, no apparent progress on any signings. However, we have confirmation from Bruce that Andy Carroll won’t return and has been released.
The only imminent transfer business is Florian Lejeune heading back to Alaves for an undisclosed fee. Newcastle have four left-footed center-backs to offloading the Frenchman was always going to be likely with him having just one year left on his contract.