The Joe Willock saga continues to drag on, with us appearing to have put all of our eggs in one basked up until this stage.
Bruce will tell you we have other options – and I’m sure there are a few alternatives we have in mind should Arsenal say it’s a no-go – but our manager admitted himself just last week that we hadn’t made a single bid all summer.
He’s also our no.1 target, and rightly so given he offered our one-paced midfield exactly what it’d been missing during his half-season stint at St James’ Park, so we need to find a way to bring him back.
Arsenal appear to have stalled over any loan deal, yet it’s always felt clear, if you read between the lines, that they may ‘cash in’ if the offer works for them.
The issue is, Mike Ashley’s never been more reluctant to part with £20m, making a potential part-exchange with Freddie Woodman pop into my head.
The 24-year-old could be a future England international and our number one in years to come, but there’s no doubt that our goalkeeping department is currently stacked – while our one-paced midfield is in dire need of freshening up.
Woodman, born in Croydon, has been linked with a move to Arsenal for some time, with The Chronicle reporting on their interest in the highly-rated stopper since 2018.
They are also in the market for another goalkeeper, having made several bids (all rejected so far) so £30m-rated Aaron Ramsdale.
So, could we use Woodman as bait – albeit reluctantly – to secure Willock on a permanent deal?
It’s not ideal to lose one of our most talented young players in all of this, but with Willock three years younger and single-handedly transforming our side towards the back end of 2020/21, he feels more valuable than a goalkeeper currently third in the pecking order under Steve Bruce.
His energy, pace, ability to make forward runs and add goals to our team was priceless, not to mention the fact he seemed to get on so well with his Toon teammates.
This is a deal we need to see happen before the new season starts – for the fans, to keep Saint-Maximin happy and to give the club that momentum boost it so badly needs – and this part-exchange could be something that tempts Arsenal into action.