According to The Athletic, Newcastle fear Arsenal won’t make a final decision on Joe Willock until later on this summer.
As a result, Chris Waugh reports that the club are looking at a host of potential alternatives just incase the on loan goal-machine ends up staying at The Emirates – including Chelsea talent Conor Gallagher, Celtic’s Olivier Ntcham, Aston Villa loanee Ross Barkley and Huddersfield Town’s Lewis O’Brien.
Although Gallagher is a real talent and Barkley is a capable Premier League player on his day, it’s fair to say this list of possible ‘plan B’s’ won’t fill too many fans with excitement should Willock remain in North London.
Reports have suggested we’ll be working with a limited budget this summer – making a big money bid for Willock difficult to comprehend unless we raise money through player sales – so it’s interesting that The Athletic state that we could also attempt to negotiate another loan deal, containing either an option or obligation to buy the 21-year-old next summer.
Regarding the four we’ve been watching as a back-up plan, Gallagher has impressed during a loan spell with West Brom and will be back at Chelsea over pre-season. There’s been some talk that he’ll attempt to impress Tuchel over the summer in a bid to stake a first-team claim, however another Premier League loan move seems highly likely for him.
Ntcham looks set to leave Celtic on the cheap after falling out with the club – unless incoming boss Eddie Howe can change his mind – and O’Brien is a box-to-box midfielder who has shone in the Championship with Huddersfield.
As for Barkley, it looks like he’ll be stuck back at Chelsea after Aston Villa boss Dean Smith recently confirmed they won’t be turning his loan move into a permanent one.