Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has a number of tough decisions to make this summer and a call on Joe Willock’s future is arguably the toughest of them all.
The Englishman, labelled as ‘brilliant‘ by Alan Shearer, enjoyed a phenomenal few months on loan at Newcastle United. He scored eight goals for the Magpies in under 1000 minutes of football, which is absolutely outstanding for a 21-year-old in the toughest league in the world.
Arsenal could loan out Joe Willock again
Willock’s now back at Arsenal and Arteta confirmed on Tuesday that he’s a part of his plans for next season. However, The Telegraph revealed yesterday that Newcastle are close to finalising a deal to re-sign him on a season-long loan deal, and that has puzzled a few Gooners.
After Willock showed the world what he’s all about in the final few games of last season, it only makes sense to give him a chance. Even Rio Ferdinand, a former Premier League and Champions League winner, was adamant that Arsenal had to keep him for next term.
He said on Vibe with Five: “You know what, I like Joe Willock. He’s someone at Arsenal that I would have kept. He’s a good young player.
“If Arsenal don’t take him back and have him around that squad… I don’t know, man. I really like him and I like his personality. He’s not shy to come on the big stage and play and perform. And the last three goals he’s scored have been massive goals for Newcastle. It shows he’s got the temperament.”
Mikel Arteta should listen to Rio Ferdinand
Apart from Willock, Arsenal currently have Thomas Partey as our only natural box-to-box midfield option. We are about to sign Albert Sambi Lokonga and he can play the same role as the Ghanaian, but he’s never experienced anything like the Premier League before.
The Gunners are almost guaranteed to bring in a new midfielder before the transfer window shuts. Manuel Locatelli, Ruben Neves and Yves Bissouma have all been linked to replace Granit Xhaka and any of those three would be brilliant for us, but Willock deserves to stay too.
To complicate things even further, Willock only has two years left on his contract. Sending him out on loan will give him the chance to run his deal down to the final year, and we all know the problems Arsenal will face then if Edu lets that happen.
The best thing now would be for Arsenal to extend his contract and keep him around. Ferdinand’s comments from a few months are spot on, but Arteta works in mysterious ways, and only he knows what he’ll do in the coming days.