Newcastle United

Steve Bruce to keep 'badgering' Arsenal over Joe Willock loan

Tom Gott
Joe Willock excelled at Newcastle last season
Joe Willock excelled at Newcastle last season / Stu Forster/Getty Images

Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce has confessed that he intends to keep blowing up Arsenal's phone in an attempt to bring Joe Willock back to St James' Park.

Willock was outstanding in his six-month spell with Newcastle last season, bagging eight goals in 14 games for the Magpies and finding the back of the net in each of his final seven appearances.

Steve Bruce, Joe Willock
Bruce is keen on a reunion with Willock / Marc Atkins/Getty Images

It's form which, understandably, has Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta keen to take a closer look at Willock this summer, but 90min understands that the 20-year-old has made it clear he wants to head back to St James' Park again as he is concerned he would not get the minutes he wants at Arsenal.

Arsenal are willing to let Willock go on loan again, but only if Newcastle agree to a £15m obligation to buy, and that detail has seen talks over a departure stall somewhat.

Talks will continue behind the scenes, but Bruce has admitted that he plans to do whatever he can to try and speed things up and bring Willock back to the club for the coming year.

"As I've said, it's really Arsenal's decision, and until Arsenal make a decision - a bit like all the big clubs, they have a look over pre-season - we'll keep monitoring and badgering away," he said (via the Daily Mail).

"We'd love to do something but it's still Arsenal's call."

Bruce's words came after a senior Newcastle side fell 1-0 to York City in their first pre-season friendly of the summer, in which the Magpies' need for some midfield excitement was laid bare for all to see.

Mikel Arteta
Arteta wants to take a closer look at Willock / Steve Welsh/Getty Images

Newcastle hope to find an agreement with Arsenal, but that obligation to buy is a problem for owner Mike Ashley, who is reluctant to commit to more spending while there is still hope that the Premier League could finally allow the Saudi-backed takeover of the club to go through.

Crystal Palace have also voiced an interest in Willock, but the midfielder is expected to delay a final decision in the hope of eventually sealing a return to Newcastle.