Rio Ferdinand has slated Arsenal’s decision to cash in on Joe Willock, believing his proposed move to St James’ Park is an “unbelievable” deal for Bruce and big mistake on Arteta’s part.
This comes after a raft of Sunday night reports confirmed we had agreed a fee with Arsenal to sign the 21-year-old on a permanent deal, with personal terms and a medical the final two hurdles to overcome before he’s unveiled as a Newcastle United player.
However, Ferdinand has been left baffled by Mikel Arteta’s decision to let the midfielder leave, feeling he could’ve offered goals, energy and clever runs into the box to his boyhood club.
Here’s what Ferdinand said when speaking on his FIVE YouTube channel this week:
“I don’t know how Arsenal have let Joe Willock go,”
“The guy scores goals from midfield man. I really like him.
“I don’t understand that. Newcastle have done unbelievable well to get him by the way, I think he’s a really good talent.
“He scores goals, he expects to score, he’s a good mover, makes good runs.
“With Arsenal, I know they’re building and Arteta is trying to build something and he’s setting the foundations there, but they’re in no man’s land.”
When you consider the fact Everton paid Arsenal £40m for Alex Iwobi just a couple of years ago, £20-£25m for Joe Willock seems an absolute steal for an England U21 midfielder with so much to offer.
Yes, he hadn’t played much Premier League football prior to his stunning spell on Tyneside last season, but Willock was outstanding in so many departments over the second half of 2020/21.
Not only was he breaking EPL records in scoring eight goals in 14 games, he showed an incredible work rate, his ability to make driving runs on the ball and also get stuck in when he was needed at the other end, being the sort of box-to-box engine we’ve so often lacked.
Fingers crossed this one gets announced in the coming days, giving Arteta no time to U-turn on his proposed return to St James’ Park!