Word stemming from the English media this weekend suggests that Newcastle United could tempt Arsenal into the permanent sale of Joe Willock by offering up an unexpected player in exchange.
21-year-old Willock was of course one of a host of Gunners stars to depart the Emirates during the January window.
After the likes of Mesut Ozil, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Sead Kolasinac and William Saliba (the latter two on loan) moved on, Willock followed both Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Shkodran Mustafi out the exit door during a hectic deadline day in north London.
This came with Mikel Arteta continuing his ongoing efforts to trim Arsenal’s bloated squad back to a reasonable size.
Willock majorly struggled for consistent game-time over the opening half of the campaign, en route to just a pair of Premier League starts.
Arsenal’s Joe Willock celebrates scoring his side’s second goal of the game during the UEFA Europa League Group B match at the Emirates Stadium, London. (Photo by Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images)
To say that the English youth international subsequently enjoyed an upturn in fortunes at St. James’ Park, though, would be putting it lightly.
Willock went on to play an absolutely starring role in Steve Bruce’s ranks in the middle of the park over the 2nd half of the campaign, lighting up Tyneside courtesy of an impressive combination of drive, intelligence and, above all, nose for goal.
Remarkably, all told across his Newcastle stint, the midfield talent racked up 8 goals across 14 Premier League appearances (11 starts). Making this tally even more impressive is the fact that seven came across the Magpies’ last seven outings of the campaign, including winners versus the likes of West Ham and Sheffield United.
Woodman offered up?
In turn, it has since come as little surprise to see speculation spread that those in a position of power at St. James’ Park have set their sights on a permanent deal for Willock.
Thus far, however, the Magpies have failed to meet Arsenal’s understandably considerable asking price.
But, if the latest reports doing the rounds in the English media this weekend are anything to go by, then Bruce and co. could yet have an ace up their sleeve.
According to the Chronicle Live, Newcastle are ready to include goalkeeper Freddie Woodman in a player-plus-cash proposal for Willock.
Highly-regarded 24-year-old Woodman’s talents are said to be appreciated by those at the Emirates, with Arsenal, as per the Chronicle, keen to add an English shot-stopper to the club’s ranks this summer. This comes with the Gunners desperate to bolster their home grown quota.
Woodman, who impressed in the Championship with Swansea City last season, could therefore be used to aid such efforts, whilst reducing the fee required to land Willock.