Steve Bruce has confirmed that the club will have “big discussions” with Arsenal this summer over the signing of Joe Willock.
The NUFC boss believed the 21-year-old has a “big future” in the game – even admitting that he’s a player he would “love to build a team around”.
That said, he accepts that conversations with Arsenal must take place once his loan dean expires at the end of the season, suggesting we will be pursuing a permanent deal for the box-to-box midfielder.
Here’s what he’s had to say about Willock when speaking to the press today:
“You could see by his elation he was delighted for the team.
“He’s a young lad. I’d love to keep him here.
“Obviously, we’ll have big discussions with Arsenal but he’s the modern day player: young, fit, athletic
“He’s only 21 so he’s got a big future”
“We’ve got to have a conversation with Arsenal.
“But, certainly, he is the right type, the right profile – you’d love to build a team around a young player like him.
“He has thoroughly enjoyed it.
“He enjoyed the adulation of scoring. He has got three vital goals for us. Why wouldn’t we want him?
“He is as quick as anyone at the club. We have to talk to Arsenal.
“If there’s a chance to bring him here next year, I’d love that chance.”
It’s also telling that he talks about Willock having the ‘right profile’ and a ‘big future’ – two things that fit in well with Mike Ashley’s usually stubborn buying policy.
The question is, will we be able to fund a permanent deal? With reports suggesting we’ll be operating on a limited budget this summer due to the after effects of COVID-19, many believe another loan move may be more likely.
Time will tell, but it’s clear Bruce is desperate to have him back at St James’ Park next season and that crunch talks will take place once he returns to The Emirates.