Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has praised the development of Joe Willock during his loan spell at Newcastle, hinting that he may have a long-term future at the Emirates Stadium.
The 21-year-old was shipped out to the Magpies on a temporary basis earlier this year having seen precious little first-team action during the first half of the season.
Despite being limited to cameo roles from the bench in recent weeks, Willock has had a huge impact on Steve Bruce's side's survival bid - having notched three goals in his last three games.
With Arsenal destined to miss out on a place in Europe via their league standing, Arteta was asked if ahead of the game with Newcastle if he regretted allowing the youngster to leave.
“It was a difficult decision to let him go because we really like the player, but he needed more game time and needed this type of experience,” he told Premier League Productions (via the Evening Standard).
“He has stepped in at big moments for them and scored some crucial goals so that is really good news because it is great for his development. He is a real threat in the opponent’s box, physically he can do anything you ask for and has got the right mentality, is good technically and he is English.
“We knew all this but he needed game time, he needed to expose himself away from our environment and we believe as well that Newcastle, Steve [Bruce] and his staff is the right place for him to do that.”
One of the shining lights of Arsenal's turbulent campaign has been the emergence of youngsters like Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe, and Arteta hinted Wollock could be given a similar opportunity at the club next season.
“He has a chance," Arteta added. “He is a player we really like so at the end of the season he will come back here and then we will make the decision again for what is best to move forward.”