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.”