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Newcastle open talks with Arsenal over Willock return

Newcastle United have opened talks with Arsenal regarding a potential return for Joe Willock, the midfielder having shone on-loan at the club last season.

The 21-year-old originally joined the Magpies on a six-month loan deal back in January and went on to become an instant fans’ favourite, ending that temporary spell with an excellent tally of eight Premier League goals in just 14 appearances.

That superb record included an end of season run that saw the Englishman score in seven successive league games, becoming the first player to do so for the club since the legendary Alan Shearer.

While he was largely restricted to a role as an impact sub throughout his time at St James’ Park, his pivotal goals against the likes of Tottenham, West Ham and Liverpool helped to steer the club away from relegation and secure a previously unlikely 12th placed finish in the table.

According to the Mail, Newcastle are keen to bring Willock back to the club permanently and have reportedly opened talks with Arsenal regarding a potential transfer.

The report suggests that negotiations are taking place with the fee likely to be in the region of £20m, the player seemingly the club’s top target this summer.

Manager Steve Bruce has made no secret of his desire to re-sign the talented youngster, although there are worries regarding the club’s limited budget, as owner Mike Ashley is unlikely to invest heavily due to a possible sale of the club in the near future.

The report does also add, however, that Willock has ‘hesitated’ over a possible move to the north east – perhaps due to his limited role as a ‘super-sub’ last term – while the Gunners have also offered him to Leicester City as part of a potential deal for playmaker James Maddison.

Nevertheless, he remains Newcastle’s primary focus for now, despite Bruce’s desire to also strengthen other areas of the pitch, Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe said to be one player the club are keen to sign on-loan, as too is Spurs midfielder Oliver Skipp.

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