Joe Willock Leaving Arsenal on Loan
The final potential outgoing this window is a player who rarely ever gets mentioned in the headlines despite being on the periphery of the first team for most of his Arsenal career to date.
No player made more appearances than Joe Willock last season, with the vast majority of those coming as a late substitute when either chasing a goal or protecting a lead.
The addition of Odegaard this January was moved Willock further down the pecking order, with Arsenal now boasting two No. 8/10’s in their squad in the Norwegian and Smith Rowe. Having dabbled in the No. 10 slot in the Europa League this season, Willock impressed with a series of competent displays.
However, the quality of opposition was telling and he hasn’t been able to replicate that on the Premier League stage – part of the reason was that he isn’t a natural No. 10, and is far more suited in a drawn back box-to-box midfielder role. He was given a chance in that position in the FA Cup third round win over Newcastle, but failed to impress.
Coincidentally, it is the Magpies who have been mentioned as a possible destination. Well, in fact, the only destination. Eager to play and with a point to prove, Steve Bruce is pushing for a deal.
Is letting Willock go wise? His departure would leave Mohamed Elneny, Dani Ceballos, Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka as the only central midfield options. With Partey and Xhaka starting, neither of the other two pose a goal threat, which Willock can at least offer on occasion.
He needs minutes, that much is clear, but you can understand a certain unwillingness from Arteta should the injury curse strike again.