Arsenal have agreed to let Joe Willock join Newcastle United on a permanent basis, according to reports. The 22-year-old excelled while on loan in the north east during the second half of last season and has been linked with a return to St. James’ Park for some time.
Willock was finding opportunities hard to come by in north London before his temporary move to Newcastle, with his involvement largely restricted to Europa League appearances for Mikel Arteta’s side.
However, he promptly burst into life under the guidance of Steve Bruce, scoring in each of his final seven Premier League games for the Magpies.
His contributions played a major role in retaining Newcastle’s top-flight status for another season, with the club eventually finishing well clear of the drop zone in 12th place.
Bruce has been pushing to sign Willock on a permanent basis since the end of the previous campaign, but Arsenal have been stalling over his departure.
However, it seems as though Arteta has finally given Newcastle the green light, with the move now resting on the shoulders of the player himself.
A deal to see Willock join the Magpies has already been agreed, but they are waiting for him to deliver his final verdict on a return to the club, according to 90min.
The report claims that Arsenal are prepared to let the midfielder leave, with Newcastle offering a transfer fee in the region of £25million with add-ons.
The total figure is poised to exceed the club’s entire budget that had been set aside for the summer months, which was initially believed to be around the £20m mark.
Newcastle are said to recognise that a move for Willock would represent a solid investment that could pay dividends in the years to come, justifying their decision to alter their spending plans.
Arsenal have reportedly proposed a loan-to-buy package to help the move go through, but Newcastle would prefer to keep their loan slots open in order to make further additions.
They are believed to be growing impatient with the situation, but Willock is yet to be convinced that a permanent return to the club is the best course of action.
Bruce recently admitted that Newcastle have been helpless to accelerate proceedings, with the ball firmly in Arsenal’s and Willock’s court.
“You have to ask Arsenal, it’s their decision and it’s the player’s decision,” said the Magpies boss last month.
The Gunners have been active in the market this sumemr
“Of course we want him back, he did great with us and gives us another dimension in midfield that we haven’t got. We’ll keep bashing away at it.”
However, Arteta has suggested that Willock still has a role to play at the Emirates Stadium as he weighs up his midfield options ahead of the new campaign.
“Joe is part of our plans, he’s our player and in the time that he is here we will try to make the most out of him,” Arteta told reporters earlier this summer.
“He had a great experience on loan. He was, I think, one of the most important players for their survival.”