Newcastle ‘suffer major blow in pursuit of Joe Willock with Arsenal set to keep academy product this season’… with Mikel Arteta planning to give midfielder pre-season to prove himself starting against Hibernian TONIGHT
- Joe Willock impressed on loan at Newcastle during second half of last season
- The England U21 midfielder scored in his final seven games of the campaign
- Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been impressed with his attitude in pre-season
- Willock will get to prove himself during the five-day training camp in Scotland
Newcastle have been hit with a major transfer blow with Arsenal reportedly set to keep hold of Joe Willock this season.
The England U21 midfielder had a hugely successful loan spell at St James’ Park during the second half of the 2020-21 season, scoring in the final seven matches of the campaign.
Magpies boss Steve Bruce confirmed in May the club were interested in keeping the 21-year-old on a permanent basis, but The Northern Echo claim such a deal is looking increasingly unlikely.
Arsenal are reportedly set to keep Joe Willock in a major blow to Newcastle’s hopes of signing him
Willock enjoyed a successful loan spell at Newcastle and Steve Bruce wants to keep him
The report adds Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has been impressed by Willock’s application and attitude since returning for pre-season this week and is therefore willing to give the midfielder pre-season to prove his worth.
That audition begins on Tuesday evening when Arsenal play Hibernian at Easter Road at 6pm BST as part of their five-day pre-season training camp in Scotland.
The Gunners will then head to Ibrox on Saturday to face Steven Gerrard’s Scottish Premiership champions Rangers.
The report adds that the Gunners were open to letting Willock go at the start of the window, but that stance has now changed after Spaniard Arteta ran the rule over him during the first week of pre-season.
But Mikel Arteta has been impressed by his attitude since returning for Arsenal pre-season
Willock will therefore be looking to impress as part of Arteta’s squad which also includes new signing Nuno Tavares, captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, star forwards Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe as well as midfielder Thomas Partey.
Hector Bellerin, Emile Smith Rowe, Cedric Soares, Rob Holding, Sead Kolasinac, Calum Chambers and Pablo Mari are among the other established first-team members to have travelled.
Right-back Bellerin however has reportedly told the Gunners he wants to sign for Serie A champions Inter Milan this summer.
Willock will therefore get pre-season to prove himself ahead of the new campaign
The two clubs have yet to reach an agreement, with Inter preferring a loan deal with an option to buy while Arsenal are believed to want a straight permanent deal for the Spaniard.
Arsenal are still working on the departures of midfield pair Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira, but William Saliba looks set to join compatriot Matteo Guendouzi at Marseille after landing in the French city.
Moreover, the north London outfit are still working on a deal for Brighton and England defender Ben White, while a move for Belgium U21 midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga from Anderlecht is nearing completion.
New signing Nuno Tavares is part of the squad that has travelled for a five-day Scotland training camp
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