What to do with Joe Willock: Push, Loan or Marry?

I don’t know about you, but I have enjoyed watching young Joe strutting his stuff for the Barcodes. A loan to another club is often seen as a negative, but for the development of a young player it can be very valuable. Take a child on a foreign holiday and notice how they seem to be smarter and communicate better two or three weeks after you’ve returned. The same goes for a promising talent going out on loan: the new environment gives them a different perspective and opportunities to learn and so they become more rounded and skilled players.

Super Joe

Joe (and also Ainsley but this post is not about him) has done well during his loan. Willock has got 9 goals and 3 assists in just under 1400 minutes of football for both Arsenal and Newcastle (Europe and PL) this season. That is one hell of a return for a young player. What is even more impressive is how quickly he adapted at the Magpies, getting better by the game: in the last five matches he scored a goal every time; one against Spuds, Hammers, Pool, the Foxes and Man City. The boy is on fire.

Some credit needs to go to Steve Bruce who clearly has given him confidence and allowed him to play in a role that suits him. The big question is, can he do this at Arsenal? Joe was struggling a bit to get into the Arsenal team by the end of 2020 and then he went on loan. Key for me is to play to Joe’s strengths, which in my view are his forward runs with the ball, his engine, his ability to battle AND his ability to score. He wasn’t doing the latter at PL level whilst a Gunner but is now doing it with some ease for Newcastle United.

I love this development and look forward to his return. However, Arsenal are in need of money and Willock has played himself into the wish list of many a manager, no doubt – Steve B is for example very keen on him. Selling him is not without attraction. Finally, it could also be good to loan out Willock again next season, say till Christmas as to allow him to learn even more and join Arsenal at the business end of next season.

I reckon that there is now a very suitable position for JW at Arsenal, which was not really the case during the first part of the season. With Arteta moving Xhaka to LB and mostly Ceballos playing in a free role between the sole DM, Partey, and the attacking players, we have entered a different stage. It had mixed success until now but with the right players it could work a treat. Ceballos or Elneny can do a decent job for sure, but the ideal player for this formation is somebody with a great engine, strong ability to drive forward with the ball, great battling ability AND ability to score. I give you Joe Willock! Then again the money could give us options… and another loan spell could complete his development into a fully ready PL player…

So what to do with Joe? Push, Loan, or Marry to the Arsenal this summer?

We welcome both comments from Gooners or Newcastle fans…

By TotalArsenal.

46 thoughts on “What to do with Joe Willock: Push, Loan or Marry?

  • If a very good offer comes now, I’d say sell. His stock won’t rise higher
    Avoid the mistake we made with Joe Campbell
    Arsenal needs quality players. Let’s have a squad of 22 players that the coach will have difficulty deciding which 11 is first

  • I would keep Joe with the caveats that Arteta must believe that he will fit into his preferred system and intends to give him game time and that Joe hasn’t set his sights on a move. There is an interesting article elsewhere that analyses the reason for Joe’s success with the Barcodes. They argue that their system of 3 CBs has allowed Joe greater freedom to roam forward. We are beginning to see goals from ESR and Mo is obviously trying to add that to his game. They are not like for like players but, Odegaard, Dani and Willian have disappointed.

    I think that is important for some of our academy and first-team squad players to see that players can benefit from loan spells and be rewarded with regular appearances in the first team. We also need to be careful not to sell too many of our better homegrown players. We don’t want makeweights in the squad next season just to comply with PL rules.

  • isn’t it ironic that we loaned our Academy product and bought in a ceba on loan to play in his position. The stats that you mentioned is glaring to be ignored. Would Joe Willock been much worse than a Ceba in the 8 position? Did Arsenal’s coaching staff got it wrong in assessing Joe. Since the actors on our side are the same iam not sure they are wiser this time to play Joe in the right position. Its better to sell him and get someone who the current coaching staff can manage.
    I set out to write this post with the idea of keeping Joe, but my train of thoughts has made to come to conclusion to sell Joe for his own career sake!

  • OX10,

    Yeah playing three at the back and one or two robust DM-like types would work for Joe. I think Arteta is sort of setting the team up like that but he needs a player with a big engine and he needs goals from such a player. A bit of a Ramsey type (but who does not get injured every other game).

  • Good point, Madhu. They are both on loan of course, Ceballos and Willock, and I would imagine that the latter has impressed the management much more in recent months. But yeah they do need to believe in him, otherwise they need to let him go.

  • Joe reminds me alot of Ramsey in his early days, full of drive, spirit, attacking desire and end-to-end skills. He has shown beyond reasonable doubt that he can match any EPL requirements and exceed most. I would avoid selling him to any EPL club as that might return to bite us in the ass, but maybe a loan spell again if there isn’t a place for him in opur best 22. However, we will be getting rid of a few this summer and bringing Joe back would make a great deal of sense.

  • Cheers Madhu, the interaction on the blog is key. I understand why things are a bit quiet at the moment, but we need the comments to make it fun.

  • Some of the regulars may be taking their first opportunity to be in the pub. In any case, it is too wet to come out to play where I am!

    I agree with OMG’s points. I tried to post something on a previous thread suggesting that we could have a useful and interesting discussion about who we should sell and loan out this summer, but it seemed to get lost in the ether. Edu and Arteta have got a lot of work ahead of them in the coming weeks deciding not only incomings and outgoings but also potentially some new contracts for those they want to keep.

  • That is a shame, OX10. I will have a look whether I can find it in spam.

    Yes they will have their work cut out but I guess they also really know what they want now. It needs to be a decisive summer so the team can hit the ground running.

  • How long is Joe’s present contract? The answer to this question is a major factor in his the future. If he is contracted for less than three years and is not willing to renew, I’d cash in on him. Otherwise, bring him back and see if he is our next Ramsey. He seems a fine lad with Arsenal DNA.
    What sort of hat do you wear, Total?

  • Meanwhile, in Spudsville, the Guardian is reporting that Harry Kane has asked to leave!

  • Haha, love the title.

    With just about two years remaining on his contract, I think it might be worth it to loan him out to Newcastle for another year. If we could sign him up on small wages before that—even better.

    I think a full season with Newcastle will give us a better look at his ability, and very likely drive up his price in the process.

    So for now: PUSH.

  • I would have Kane at Arsenal. With him in the team, I believe that we could challenge for the PL next season. It is never going to happen though, he is in the middle of a long contract and Levy would never sell him to Arsenal even if Kane had the bottle to follow Sol to the home of football to win trophies. Does he really want to leave the Spuds? Or, is he pushing Levy to spend big on a high profile manager and additions to the squad? Whatever the intention, the media are likely to be all over the Spuds this summer and hopefully allow Edu and Arteta more space to go about their business.

  • I heard on a reliable podcast yesterday that the word coming out of Newcastle is that they want Willock on loan for another year, I mean the owner wants to sell the club he doesn’t want in invest, and Arsenal aren’t interested in another loan – but things can change.

  • It’s odd, or maybe it isn’t, but only days ago we were hearing about clear outs and 8 plus plays leaving, Willian going, Leno going, Bellerin going, etc and since then Leno has stated that he wants to stay, Lacazette could be offered a contract extension especially now that Garlick is in situ, Chambers could be offered a new deal, then there’s the reframing of the positions of Willock and Maitland Niles, the point is, despite all the sensationalism on line, that maybe there isn’t going to be all the churn we expect to see or hope for. So yeah, Willock to stay for me, that is unless we get an offer we can’t refuse, which pretty much covers the majority of our squad…

  • Wise words by King Kev. 😁

    No doubt more will go this summer but agreed that there will not be a huge clear out. Arteta will build further on this team now.

  • The Willock brothers (Matt, Chris and Joe) were a thing in the England youth football scene and, for me, Chris was always the one to become a star at Arsenal (Matty was at Manure). It didn’t quite turn out so, seeing how Joe has taken his Arsenal career in his own hands and getting quite some game time at the start of the season. I can tell Arteta sees potential in him, but whether Arsenal will have the patience to keep him for that potential to develop is another matter. We are a club in a hurry to achieve some success and reclaim our status as a top 4 side in the EPL and the fans will only want to see upgrades to the present squad.

    For this reason, I will say if another club is willing to pay upwards of £20m for him, we should sell and include an optional buy-back clause with a strong understanding we get the option of first refusal on him, for a long time. That will leave much needed cash for other buys while leaving us with the option to buy back our player at a pre-determined sum. I am not sure where that falls: PUSH, perhaps, but with intent to recapture the old flame in the future.

  • Definitely push, Eris 😁

    It’s like saying when you are splitting up with your partner that you may want to get back together again in the future…

    We need a player like Joe in the team and it may be hard to find one with his qualities for a decent price…

  • King Kev 😆 maybe King of the road Total, there definitely is a noticeable increase in traffic and pedestrians in London so yeah, we’re on our way back mate.

    Btw way what’s happened to the Duke of Normandy and the the man with the Frisbee, I still see them around but not on here?

  • Maybe more the Tyrant of the Tarmac!! 😁

    JW1, emailed me a while ago to say he is no longer blogging on Bergkampesque.com.. A lack of engagement I think. No idea about the other one.

  • Ah well Total, one door closes and another opens but I’m enjoying the engagement of our new blogging contributors, it keeps it fresh and interesting.

    Tyrant of the Tarmac, hmm, most cyclists would agree TA… 😉

  • Yes Total, they came in all shapes and sizes and with a mixture of behavioural traits, but the majority share this entitlement complex, but Sadiq Khan loves them so who am I to complain… 🤐

  • Hi Guy’s

    So far I only have this weeks game predictions from Kev, given that it’s the final week it’s very important for Eris to make his predictions otherwise he will lose by default – it’s just for fun for the rest of us.

  • Here are my predictions:-

    Arsenal v Brighton – H
    Leicester v Tottenham ( correct score game) H (1-0)
    Liverpool v Crystal Palace – H
    Manchester City v Everton- H
    Wolverhampton v Manchester United – A
    Atalanta v AC Milan – H

  • Arsenal v Brighton – H
    Leicester v Tottenham ( correct score game) Draw 2-2
    Liverpool v Crystal Palace – H
    Manchester City v Everton- H
    Wolverhampton v Manchester United – H
    Atalanta v AC Milan – A

  • TA, I can’t argue with you on that view of Willock. I also think there is a good to great player in him and it will manifest in a few years time. It is that time we may not afford him. Let’s see what Arteta does.

    GN5, Kev has been on a roll and it may be unfair for me to snatch it at the dead, even if I led at some point, early in the season (I recall).

    Shame about JW1; thought he got on well Retsub and a few others on here. Hey! Who knows what rocks anyone’s boat?

  • Still, here goes:

    Arsenal v Brighton – H (this won’t be an easy ride for us)
    Leicester v Tottenham H (3-2)
    Liverpool v Crystal Palace – H
    Manchester City v Everton- H
    Wolverhampton v Manchester United – H
    Atalanta v AC Milan – A

  • Morning fellas, I’m not 100% but I don’t think Arsenal have won at Selhurst Park since Roy Hodgson has been in charge, in fact Palace, like Brighton, have been a bit of a Jonah club to Arsenal in recent years. Roy isn’t going to want to lose his last game in charge so it’s not gonna be easy although it seems that Eze might not play and he’s a really dangerous player.

    Graham Potter, has he ever lost at the Emirates?

    So maybe the win over Chelsea has lulled us into our comfort zone again where we take for granted 6 points against the Eagles and Seagulls when in fact we might actually end up with just 2…

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