Willock enjoyed a successful spell on loan at St James’ Park and Steve Bruce wants him to return for 2021-20, but now the Arsenal midfielder has a decision to make with a surprise offer from abroad
The 21-year-old scored eight times on loan with the St James’ Park side in the second half of last season, becoming a fan favourite in the north east and a priority target for Steve Bruce.
Although many expected a decision to be made by now, Mikel Arteta and co are yet to confirm Willock’s future amid speculation, leading to other clubs trying their luck to snap up his signature ahead of the Toon Army.
Crystal Palace have been linked as Patrick Vieira attempts to rebuild the fellow London club but an offer from abroad could see the Gunners midfielder stay in red and white while departing the Emirates.
With talks for Lyon’s Jean Lucas at a standstill, Monaco are looking at alternative midfield options.
The Ligue 1 outfit are said to be looking to add another midfielder to supplement pairing Aurelien Tchouameni and Youssouf Fofana after their success under former Bayern Munich boss Niko Kovac last term.
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Kovac guided Monaco to third place and a Champions League qualification spot, where they will face Czech Republic side Sparta Prague over two legs next month.
The Croatian boss boasts a youthful squad with an average age of 24.1, including former Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone.
Following their French title win in 2017, confidence at the Stade Louis II hasn’t been as high since and the youngster could be joining a club well and truly on the up in one of Europe’s top five divisions.
Where should Willock go – Newcastle or Monaco? Comment below.
In May, Gunners manager Arteta was asked whether the midfielder was part of his future plans and the Spaniard responded: “Yes. He will be back with us.
“We will have those conversations with him and plan the next years for him.”
However, Willock may not be glad to hear of Arsenal’s mooted transfer plans.
With Martin Odegaard potentially returning – who came to the Emirates midway through the campaign as the academy product headed north – and links with the likes of Ruben Neves and Houssem Aouar coming after the club’s capture of box-to-box man Albert Sambi Lokonga, minutes under Arteta could be hard to come by.
Speaking after Newcastle’s draw against Rotherham on Tuesday, Bruce said: “I’ve said many times now, he’s Arsenal’s player.
“Joe has to decide but there has to be a cut-off point where we can’t wait forever.
“We have one or two other options and it would be wrong if we didn’t.”
The Toon Army gaffer affirmed: “Joe is our first choice and we are encouraged to keep bashing away.
“There is a cut-off point, though.”
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