Alan Shearer has revealed that he’s offered Joe Willock his phone number if he ever wants to discuss a permanent move to Newcastle and what life would be like as a full-time player at St James’ Park.
The Arsenal loanee has been sensational since we took a short-term punt on him back in January, scoring an electric 8 goals in just 14 games – also equalling Shearer’s record just yesterday after his strike at Fulham made it seven goals on the spin!
Calls to re-sign the midfielder are rampant among supporters, with another loan or even a permanent transfer both being mooted in the press.
Mikel Arteta said last week that he will assess Willock’s situation in the summer and even hinted at possibly keeping him at The Emirates next season, but Shearer has urged Mike Ashley to “break the bank” and build a team around the 21-year-old.
Here is what he said when speaking on the NUST’s end-of-season live when asked about potential arrivals this summer:
“I think the standout signing is obvious, it’s staring us in the face and we have him already.
“I jokingly said on Match of the Day the other night about playing for a big club, but there’s a little bit of truth in it. I would love him to come and sample 52,000 at St James’ Park when it’s rocking, when it’s going well and we’re getting the right results.
“The reception one of his goals would get…I think it’s an absolute no-brainer. Newcastle have to try and break the bank and get him here. Whether we will or not, I don’t know, but I ****** well hope so!
“I’m with Ian Wright on most Saturday nights, and Ian speaks to Joe and is a little bit of a mentor to him.
“I keep saying to him if he ever needs or wants anything, my number is there.
“I would love him to sample 52,000 on Saturday afternoon at Newcastle when things are going well because there’s no better place in the world of football than St James’ Park when that’s happening.
“It might be out of his hands, but I really hope we try to break the bank to bring him because he’s been incredible over the last few months.”
Making an offer Arsenal can’t refuse has to be the top priority for our recruitment setup this summer.
Replacing him with a player of a similar ilk would be risky – possibly costly too – and there is no reason why he wouldn’t want to come here and get more game time under his belt.
His goalscoring heroics could prove to be a double-edged sword if Arsenal do decide to keep him, but we should be first priority should he look for pastures new.
If we put ourselves in Willock’s position, he is a Gunner through and through, having played for his boyhood club since a kid, so does he not harbour ambitions to play for Arsenal?
He would have come here on a short-term deal with the aim of impressing to break into Arteta’s side, something he is on the cusp of doing.
For me, another loan deal is our most realistic chance of bringing him back to Tyneside, even if that seems a little bittersweet. I hope I am wrong, but regardless, our hierarchy should be pulling out all the stops to make sure he is here again come the first game of the season.