Friday, December 1, 2023

Arteta: Willock will be an Arsenal player next season

Mikel Arteta says Joe Willock will be an Arsenal player next season despite Newcastle United’s interest in signing the midfielder on a permanent basis.

The 21-year-old has achieved fan favourite status at St James’ Park since joining the Magpies on loan in January with six goals in consecutive Premier League games helping the club to secure its Premier League status.

After scoring the only goal of Sunday’s 1-0 win over Sheffield United, Willock confirmed that staying in the North East was an option but he’d have to speak to Arsenal about their plans for him.

It appears that Arteta has already made up his mind.

“I’m really happy that things have gone so well for him because of the potential he has,” said the Spaniard ahead of Arsenal’s final game of the season against Brighton.

“I think it was great for him to go away and have a different experience and he has grabbed that opportunity in a really positive and remarkable way. He’ll be back with us, we’ll have those conversations with him and plan the next years for him.

Asked if Willock was part of next season’s plans, Arteta added: “Well, for sure, because he has a contract and he’s going to be here. That’s for sure.”

When it was put to him that Willock’s remarkable scoring streak had significantly increased the player’s market value, Arteta diverted attention away from transfer talk.

“He got the responsibility and the task to go to Newcastle to help them go where they want and I’m telling you, because I spoke with the coaching staff there, that they are extremely happy because he was a key part to contributing to the objectives that they had. That’s a real positive for him.”

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Definitely being romantic here, but I really want him to stay! Even though he could generate a decent fee. But I felt the same with AMN this time last season too and that didn’t work out too well in the end. Though I hope Joe does manage to nail down a place. In hindsight it was criminal giving minutes to Ceballos instead of him.


I really rate Joe and most people here criticised me when I said we really had a player over the past 2-3 years, citing his terrible technique, too weak, blah blah blah. Now it seems he’s everyone’s favourite again. The issue for me with him staying is, I don’t trust Arteta to actually utilise him enough and when he does nor utilise him effectively. He just doesn’t seem an Arteta type of player. His first touch and technique still need to improve and hence he’s a more direct style of footballer. Not a style Mikel likes at all. And how… Read more »


What happens if Willock demands to start? We already cant get Martinelli to start, and Willock is not CM partner for Partey, he plays further up.
Arteta sounding arrogant again.

Old but Gold

What’s arrogant about a manager speaking about one of his players?


Get him not to cut a single hair on his head during the off-season, then get his Mum to tell Mik that his middle name is Ian.
Then change the last 3 letters on his shirt to IAN…

He’ll play every game!

Diaby's Left Peg

Love how far you reached for that 😂


Newcastle would have bid 8/10 m. They are tight with money . Wanted him on loan.
One of our problems in this season is slow Arteta type players .( Xhaka, Dani C, elneny, Martin o. 50% of the time). glad he is coming back .


You say it’s criminal to have given the minutes to ceballos and while that’s true, I think it’s worth acknowledging that going on loan can have many benefits to a player beyond minutes on the pitch.

This is a win win for us. We either get money to reinvest in the squad or we get another academy player in the team.

Like you I hope it’s the latter.

David C

He can take Ceballos and a bit of Odegaard’s minutes. I think Willock and ESR would dovetail nicely as well.

Keep the homegrown lads who fight for the crest on the front of the shirt and not just the name on the back.

Jordan Tan

Sending our young players that can’t get enough minutes in the PL, to bottom clubs that are also in the PL (WBA/Newcastle) and putting them in an environment where they need to get their shit in order to contribute with club survival really at stake, to learn their trade fast and immediate, to come back now worth millions more. Making millions of paper gain in such sort time. That’s good business sense. Credit where credits due. Now, more of the same please.

Johnny 4 Hats

Agreed. Let’s try and be complimentary where we can. I would personally be happy to have ESR and Willock share the ACM role next season. I know neither of them are typical number 10’s and maybe neither of them have ‘that’ Odegaard pass in them. But they both have goals in them and are very direct. Both remind me of the sort of player Klopp would love to have in his midfield. I know creativity has to come from somewhere which is about more than just charging into the box, but if Pepe can step up and Saka continue on… Read more »


As I said above my issue is what is Mikel’s plan to use a very effective player, but one that thrives on a bit more choas that a very structured technical system. Not sure Mikel knows how to get the most out of a player like Joe Willock. That’s on the manager, but it’s a reality we’re going to be dealing with.


Good points. The other reality is with no real European football next year (even with the conference league still possible) we’re looking at likely just 1 game per week for most of the season. There won’t be a lot of rotation which means that fringe players aren’t going to get a lot of opportunities. We don’t need a huge squad for that = if we can sell players who don’t fit what Arteta wants (seems clear he’s not going anywhere) to invest in quality players who do, then we should do it.


I think there will be games when Arteta will play just one holding midfielder and two attacking midfielders behind the front three (4123 or 433), and I could see ESR and Willock occupying those roles rather well. Willock is also a major impact sub, as proven at Newcastle, so in the games he doesn’t start he can still play a big part. He’s not the most physically imposing player, but you have a to love an agile 6-foot midfielder with goals in him, and let us not forget that he scored goals for us, too, before heading north. That said,… Read more »


I’d love to see Willock and ESR played together in midfield, but I fear it would leave Partey quite exposed. He fared much better in a double pivot this season.


Definitely. I think Arteta would roll it out for teams sitting deep in the low block, or teams that don’t have a solid midfield though which Joe and Emile could run. I also think we’re going to see a very different Partey next year — one capable of covering a lot of ground and with a clearer role to play.


Excellent point. Willock’s refining his skill set into a consistent weapon in the premier league. Yes, his value has skyrocketed during this brief loan period, that’s very good business by Edu and Arteta. Two ways to capitalize: bring him back and fine-tune the system to best suit his skills—and provide him real game time so that the Newcastle progress sticks—or sell him for good money and buy a new asset? I definitely want us to keep him. On another note, in Willock, ESR, Saka, Martinelli, and Saliba, we now have five U-21 players worth 25m or more. Let’s see how… Read more »

Fred Merz

Yes. We are in the best possible position re: Willock. Can’t believe people are moaning and groaning about this. He’s 21. Keeping and selling are both risky, as is everything in life, and surely everyone can see both sides of the argument. And what do people expect Arteta to say? His response keeps us in the best possible position.

Wiltoooooooooord !!!

Like a new signing ..
Mikel’s way

Eazy Deezy

I feel we’re not the right place to get the most out of Joe. He’d be great at a more counterattacking club. But his passing isn’t good enough to fit the possession based football Arteta is aiming for. So I expect Joe is going to get relegated to super sub, nick a goal appearances. That’s a useful role for us, but not great for his development. And given his value should be high now, I’m not sure it’s worth keeping him for a bit part role. I like him though – would love it if I’m wrong and we see… Read more »


He would be similar to what Partey was doing in the last game. I don’t have much concern if he loses in attacking half than in defensive half. He atleast can run with the ball and shoots better.


There is FA cup,Carling cup and see in January. He deserves his chance


and the conference league!!


Goalscoring midfielders are a commodity, so hopefully he can replicate that with us. We’re getting far too few goals from central midfield. Compare that with City.


Until recently, I think we were probably getting too few goals from everywhere – but as you say central midfield was definitely a weakness.


True, but City are blessed with a host of footballers not only with more technique than ours, but a better cutting edge too.

The problem in having a midfielder in the team who’s main attribute is goalscoring, is what happens if he’s not scoring? Is he contributing enough or impacting the game enough outside that?

I’d love Joe to succeed here, but I do wonder if he’s a bit in the Lingard model of a player who would do very well at certain clubs, but struggle to make it at others.


Think he’s left himself enough wriggle room to sell. Fair enough it is a complex chaotic summer ahead. Who knows what will happen.

carlton kgololana

Fantastic loan spell, well done Joe.


It’s a no brainer for him to come back and be our fresh legs from the bench midfield goalscorer.


“Asked if Willock was part of next season’s plans, Arteta added: “Well, for sure, because he has a contract and he’s going to be here. That’s for sure.”

Translation- He’s under contract so of course he’s going to be here. Unless Newcastle give us want then he won’t be here next season.


Yes, it’s a possibility – as with any/every player under contract. I hope not though as I think Willock is a terrific young player, someone who should be given a chance to build on his progress at Newcastle back at The Emirates.


It’s hardly ringing praise for the guy is it. He’s scored 7 goals for newcastle, 10 all season. Even the 7 for Newcastle is equal to the combined total of Elneny, Partey, Xhaka, Odegaard and Willian. But, I fail to see how Arteta has any clue how to use a player like Joe Willock.


Willocks been around the Arsenal team for a number of years now and he’s not exactly pulled up trees. I know he’s done reasonably well at Newcastle, but I just dont see where he plays positionally in Arteta’s team. He’s not a central midfielder. He’s not a creator. He’s not a winger. He plays in the half spaces and roams around the number 10 AMC role. He is good at getting in the box, like Ramsey used to, but he’s not great positionally or in a rigid style that Arteta plays. With Arteta saying he’s coming back to Arsenal makes… Read more »


“Done reasonably well at Newcastle” = youngest player in PL history to score in 6 consecutive games.

Man, some of our fans are hard to please 😜

King Kolo

Who does fit Mikel’s rigid style? I think what’s been proven is no-one does otherwise we wouldn’t be a mid-table team. Why not play in a way that puts a young Premier League level goalscoring midfielder in the positions to score goals.

Rick Liebling

Many years ago in the NFL the Philadelphia Eagles traded wide receiver Chris Carter to the Minnesota Vikings. The Eagles coach explained the trade by saying all Carter did was “catch touchdowns.” Chris Carter is in the NFL Hall of Fame.

I keep hearing “all Joe Willock does is charge into the box and score goals”, and people are saying it like it’s a bad thing.

Can’t wait to hear everyone complain about our dearth of goals again next year while Willock is somewhere else banging in 10+ goals.


Thanks for this. Thought I’d gone mad reading some comments. Isn’t the point of football to score more goals than the other guys?

matt keeler

Great stuff, do they want to take Azeez next season

Vaibhav Pandey

He should be sold because he will not get a sniff at Arsenal starting 11 every week. I hope sense prevails.


I think that’s a tad premature. I wouldn’t expect a youngster like Willock to return from loan and get a regular place in the starting 11 from Day 1. That said, he’ll have to be given a fair chance to show what he can do over a period of time.


If Mikel wants to continue with his slow build possession game, I can’t see Willock doing well at Arsenal. He is free to run without constantly checking and passing back to the defence at Newcastle.


Good news, he’s obviously a very talented young player. I thought that there may have been a risk we would have sold him if we received a “good” offer, but fortunately not. It will be interesting to see – given his stunning form at Newcastle – how he is used in the Arsenal squad.

carlton kgololana

If Willock stays who do we sell to fund summer transfers?



Man Manny

How about Elneny and Mavropanos?


Both candidates as well, for sure.

Carlton Ngololana

Quite a few potentially could be available for transfer, hopefully they can move some on early in the window rather than at the last minute.
What does everyone think of Sander Berge? The club reportedly made a bid for him this week.
If that was the out list, who is on the in list realistically?
Regards to all our great fans out there, hope to be back at the Emirates with you next season.


I’m a big fan of Holding, but maybe an even bigger fan of Dinos after watching him a bit this year. He’s come a long way and is really comfortable with the ball at his feet. Given Chamber’s ability to play RB and CB, perhaps we should cash in on Holding while the value is high? We’re still overloaded with CBs (particularly right-sided), so go into the season with Mavropanos (who IMO is good enough to start for Arsenal) with Saliba and Chambers supporting him. That’s 5 quality CBs and more than enough without Euro football.


This maybe the reason why I have accepted the slow introduction of Saliba to the team. Holding was a great prospect and looked like a great signing in the making when he broke into the starting 11. He played with just one goal of clearing everything that was in the box. So was the case with phil jones, chris smalling maybe even john stones where the expectation of them being next best defenders might have been too much. Holding and Chambers are kind off in the same situation too soon a move to a top four side and then injuries… Read more »

Bergkamps boots

All of the above plus Aubameyang I’d say.


Yep, I’d rather see us move Pepe up top and sell Auba – the two are alarmingly difficult to play together and I think Auba is on his way down the hill. Malaria didn’t help him at all, but he’s just not a good fit in Mikel’s footballing philosophy, which he seems pretty intent on riding to his end or making work.


too bad Barcelona are getting Aguero…maybe PSG if Mbappe goes

I would not be too dissapointed if Auba goes, he seems a bit unmotivated. I don’t think playing for a mid-table club is how he wants to finish his career.


The problem is the word ‘sell’. Finding buyers for those will not be easy. Who is going to take Kola at 100k pw ? Emery made it clear we wanted to sell Elneny 2 years ago & we couldn’t get a buyer. Post-Covid it’s going to be even harder.
The young English players we will definitely be able to sell if we choose to but the others……it will be a tough summer.


If you can get anyone to pay their crazy wages. I’d almost be happy for many to go free.


I think they’ll all be free or loaned out & we’ll get more loans in more Willians!. If only we had a better experienced manager to sort this out.


Numerically we could lose those players, and still be left with 20 players, and only have space for a right back, left back, and attacking midfielder, we don’t need a bigger first team squad than 22, with a few talented kids from the youth team as back up Leno, Runarsson Chambers, Tierney, Saliba, Holding, Mavropanos Gabriel, Mari Xhaka, Elneny Partey, Willock Smith-Rowe Saka, Pepe Martinelli, Nelson Aubameyang, Balogun If we want to get players in this summer, we need to move plenty on, we should be aiming for balance and quality over quantity Really hope Arteta gives Saliba an opportunity… Read more »

Give youth a chance

I agree with most of that list, but we need to keep hold of Nketiah, maybe with a loan next season.

He has so much potential as a goalscorer, and just needs the minutes on the pitch to keep developing


‘Keeping hold’ of players waiting to develop is partly what’s gotten us into this bloated squad scenario. Eddie had his loan in a spirited Leeds side and didn’t really do anything like Joe’s done at the Toon. He also had more opportunities that many of the youngsters and has never grabbed them in the way of ESR, Saka and Martinelli. Perplexing, I know, given what he does for England u23, but some kids just don’t/cant make that final step-up? Get some dosh for him based on his u23 form whilst we can – give the space to Balogun to show… Read more »

naked cygan

good list, but I think we get more out of Laca than Auba. Some games Auba just goes missing.


And Runarsson.


Well, I doubt we’ll get anything for Willian (rather more likely we’ll have to pay him off to leave), but that aside I think we need to be a little cautious here. It’s a buyer’s market and there will be lots of clubs wanting to sell. In a crowded market, that’s probably going to make sales more challenging and depress prices, even for the few “wonderkids” often mentioned in the press. It’s more “who do we hope to sell” rather than “who do we sell”. I’ve read “estimates” from various Gooners on this site that we could (should, even) raise… Read more »


Mark my words Blogsy – we sell Laca at our peril.


Yes, Laca is the reason we’ve reached the dizzying heights of midtable.

Without him, we might be … midtable.


Willian and Kolasinac would be those summer transfers we need funds for.

We’re going to have to pay them to leave.

I miss our players leaving for free.


I just wish Guendouzi hadn’t burnt his bridge and turned his attitude around like AMN or Pepe. I remember the villa game where we salvaged a draw from being a man down and he was phenomenal. Elneny will never be that guy.

I would have preferred to keep Guendouzi over Elneny but his attitude has stunted his career so far.


I appreciate that you left Nelson off your list. If it wasn’t for Willian, this could’ve been an important developmental year for Reiss. I hope Willian is sold and Nelson is given some time next season. Torreira:12m; Guendouzi:15m; AMN:15m; Nketiah:10m; Willian:8m; Cedric:4m; Bellerin:20m; Kolasinac:4m; Lacazette:17m. Total – 105m Bissouma:40m; Buendia:35m; Aarons:30m Total – 105m Even if that happens, we’d still need the “Flonkies” to go into their pockets for at least another 50-60m for it to be a truly transformative window. I’d also like to see us sign Matt Ryan as permanent back up to Leno, a versatile player who… Read more »


Catch 22 situation. I want willock to succeed at arsenal but at the same time, his market value is at all time high now and he may fund our transfer kitty in an significant way.

Tankard Gooner

Understand what you mean. But a priority target for us this summer would be a CM who contributes more to the final third.
If we already have Willock, don’t need to go through the whole process of finding a player who fits the profile and wants to play for us and then haggle about the transfer fee the entire summer only to make a mad trolley dash on deadline day to get someone else who only slightly reminds you of the profile we needed.

Man Manny

Is Willock succeeding at Arsenal not saving funds for further investments in other areas – just like ESR and Saka?


You need to factor into his value, that he’s grown up with ESR and Saka (and Balog and Azeez, should they feature) – that’s not insignificant given how new players need time to settle (Pepe, Thomas)… assuming they actually do settle – always a gamble.


I have more trust in Willock being good than I do in Edu and Arteta using the funds raised for him well.

I wouldn’t be surprised if they spent the entire summer negotiating over an expensive player who has been linked with us in the past, only to realize at the very end that this expensive player is expensive and either overpay or scramble to sign a thirtysomething on a free. Or both.

King Kolo

Alan Davies will be pleased.

I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that Mikel will come good. He’s tried something and it hasn’t worked – Willian, Cedric and even Luiz to a certain extent. Surely he’ll go with Saliba, Willock and co a bit more next season. Surely.

Alan Davies is a Gooner😲?


Listen to the Podcast every week. The Tuesday Club, alongside Keith Dover, Ian Stone and a few others. Hilarity never has been better


Are they back? They went on hiatus a couple of years ago and I’ve not seen them since except Tayo appearing here a few times


If you mean Alan Davies the comedian/actor from Jonathan Creek and QI, yes, he’s definitely a gooner.

Yes that’s who I meant. On my TV screen for ten years plus and I never knew.


Smoke and mirrors, cloaks and daggers


Maybe Steve Bruce is just a better motivator.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

“Steve Bruce said at the weekend that he is the best player in the world, anybody arguing?”

Cultured Determination

So basically arteta got a crop of talented youngsters that he just doesn’t know how to utilize. Rowe not played till desperation hit. Martinelli out cold got Willian. Not knowing his own players’ strength like willocj’s role. Instead he plays ceballos who has been shit.


And then he says the squad isn’t good enough.


Aaaaand…. so a chat about a really promising young Gun, who’s just had a stonker of a loan and is coming back to us, gets hijacked into another Arteta rant!



We need goals from midfield, he’s shown he can provide those, this loan has hopefully given him the confidence to live up to his potential at Arsenal, we have maybe 3 players in his kind of position who aren’t going to be with us next season, he’s definitely better than 2 of them, and if there’s a way to keep our academy players together im all for it

Tim Lee

There’s no guarantee Willock will do well back Arsenal. There pressure and expectation at Arsenal is massive compared to Newcastle. Some players a better offer to clubs for less demand. Don’t get too excited about article. By the way some newspapers are comparing this situation to Martinez which always wrong, Martinez was performing really well at a top level and was sold. Whereas Willock was inconsistent and failed to break into this first team like Saka Smith-Rowe


He had 1 start in the EPL this year and was our best player in Europa group stages where we played with the handbrake mostly off.

Al Gilmore

I find it more and more than people look at a story and bend it to fit their narrative. So many people claim letting Willock go to NUFC was just another massive mistake he has made. They directly translate the 6 goals in 6 games he scored for them as being goals he could/would have scored for us. It doesn’t work like that. So I will bend the story to my narrative that progress isn’t linear, that decisions don’t have the benefit of 20/20 hindsight and that when something works you should just say ‘yeah, that worked’. So. Arteta loaned… Read more »


If Mikel wanted to go with a younger more mobile team then why did he play Xhaka and Willian and Mari so often ahead of guys like Willock, Martinelli, Nelson, Gabriel, and Balogun (or even Elneny who is far more mobile than Xhaka) all season long?


Hey, he said he “believed” it, not that it was true. People also believe in ghosts, miracles, invisible men in the sky and COVID being a hoax. I suppose if some believe that 9/11 was the work of Satan-worshipping lizard people, others can also believe that the manager who has brought in Willian to be played ahead of Pepe and who still plays him ahead of Nelson and who registered Shkodran Mustafi over William Saliba really wants to play the young players, promise, it’s just that it’s so gosh darned hard what with them consistently performing well. It’s easy to… Read more »

Al Gilmore

Yeah those are fair points and I am not saying every decision Arteta made make sense to me or follow a pattern. I believe some decisions were made regarding dominating possession. He wants to do that the way Pep does it. But unfortunately perhaps Arteta viewed the players who look after the ball as Xhaka and the names you mention. And you can’t really don’t Xhaka is often linked to our best performances in that area. That he isnt mobile is the problem. But I don’t think claiming Arteta wants Arsenal to be based on similar principles as Citeh is… Read more »

I’m not sure where I stand on Willock really. What is pretty certain is we need a replacement – and a much better quality upgrade – for the outgoing Ceballos. Willock and/or AMN may fill that gap, but I’d like to think we’re scouting the markets for something better. If we qualify for the Europa Conference, there’s certainly a higher chance Willock is kept to make up the home-grown numbers, as morbid as that sounds. Of course another piece of the puzzle is does Willock even want to stay at Arsenal? He may actually want to join Newcastle and settle… Read more »


He will be sold. This is just a seller’s pitch

Steve Dracula

Another season of bench warming beckons.


Sounds right. I could not see the point of selling him right now. People think sell make some dosh but you have to remember you have to then spend to replace. And we have been poor at selling/buying at comparative high prices. This is an academy product so he cost us next to nothing. And we have more needs in Midfield IMO than Arteta believes currently. Adding Willock to Partey and Xhaka, we will still need one more in deep midfield. Elneny has been decent this season and can be retained maybe one more season but ideally we need an… Read more »


Willock must absolutely hate Arteta.

There’s Joe, having fun, scoring for fun – and now he’s being ordered to return to the Pass Back factory.

Like I said, he must hate Arteta.


I have a mate that supports Chelsea. Years ago we were having a discussion about football. I said “ah Frank lampard is a bit over rated. All he does is score goals sure” His reply was pretty simple “isn’t that the whole point of football”? He can score goals Joe. He’s done it for arsenal too. Find a way to make him work in the team if he’s a goal scorer. Pointless playing pretty passes when nobody can bloody score. Figure it out arteta.

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