Joe Willock has made such an impression on Steve Bruce that Newcastle will try and sign the on-loan midfielder on a permanent basis this summer.
The England under-21 international has played a vital role in steering the Geordies away from the relegation zone in recent weeks scoring three times in nine appearances, including late interventions against Sp*rs and West Ham.
Having grown up at Arsenal, it remains to be seen whether Willock wants to spread his wings full-time or if he’d rather take a second shot at life at the Emirates. Either way, he now knows for sure that he has at least one suitor waiting in the wings.
Speaking about Willock ahead of his side’s clash with Liverpool, Bruce said: “I believe he is enjoying it here, he wants to be in the team, but he has scored three goals and the last two, particularly the last one were vitally important.
“You could see by his elation that he was delighted for the team. He’s a young lad and I’d love to keep him here and we will have some big conversations with Arsenal [about keeping him].
Given he’s basically helped save his job, it’s little wonder that Bruce is so enamoured with Willock.
“He’s the modern day player, young, athletic and quick,” he added. “He’s only 21 years old and he’s got a big, big future.
“There are lots of conversations to be had. I think he has thoroughly enjoyed it here and certainly the adulation he received last week after scoring the winner. He has scored three big goals for us since he’s been here. Why wouldn’t I want to sign him?
“He gives us a bit of pace, he’s athletic and he can score a goal. He’s got real pace, he’s arguably as quick as anyone we have got at the club.
“We will have to have a conversation with Arsenal first. It’s a bit disrespectful of me to talk about him because he is still their player, but certainly, the move has helped him and it has helped us. If there is something that can be done [to sign him] I would love to do it.”
The Telegraph claim that Arsenal’s asking price would be in the region of £20 million. In a summer when we need cash for a rebuild, it would be hard to turn down that amount of cash were Mike Ashley willing to cough up.