Exclusive – Newcastle United are waiting for Joe Willock to make a decision on his future, with a deal already agreed to take him back to the North East.
The 21-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan at St James’ Park and played a major in steering the Magpies clear of the Premier League’s relegation zone, including a run of scoring in seven consecutive games.
90min has learned that Willock has been told by Arsenal that he can leave the club, and Newcastle have proposed a permanent deal which could be worth up to £25m including add-ons. That outlay is a significant investment in Willock, and exceeds the club’s initial summer budget that had been limited to around £20m.
Newcastle’s board recognise Willock would be a long-term investment but a deal is no closer to being done – because although Arsenal have given him permission to finalise the switch, the player himself is yet to decide what he wants to do.
Arsenal have told Newcastle they would be willing to accept a loan deal with an option to buy if that will help move the deal along, but the Magpies would rather secure a permanent deal now – especially as they have their loan slots – of which they only have two – lined up to be filled by other players.
Newcastle are growing impatient as they feel they have met all of Willock’s demands, but the Arsenal academy graduate still needs convincing that a permanent move to the North East is right for him.
As it stands Newcastle are the only club to agree terms and Arsenal have made it clear they have first option on him, but unless Willock agrees to the move, the deal will go no further. There is concern at the lack of movement among the Magpies’ camp, but sources close to the club have told 90min that they remain confident that Willock will be part of their squad for next season.