Steve Bruce has made it clear for quite some time that he wants to sign Arsenal youngster Willock on a permanent deal after shining on loan at St James’ Park.
And according to Sky Sports, Bruce is hoping that Smith Rowe signing a new long-term deal at the Emirates will now convince the Gunners to let Willock go permanently.
Newcastle manager Steve Bruce remains in hot pursuit of Arsenal midfielder Joe Willock
Smith Rowe, who has been a target for Aston Villa all summer, put pen to paper on his new Arsenal deal on Thursday afternoon and was handed the club’s iconic No 10 shirt, previously worn by the likes of Dennis Bergkamp, Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere and Robin van Persie.
Smith Rowe shone for Arsenal in what was a turbulent 2020-21 campaign, with his fine form meaning they could ship Willock out on loan to Newcastle, and he is set to be a key player once again next term.
Smith Rowe and Wllock could well compete for the same starting spot in attacking midfield under Mikel Arteta next season.
But now after securing a new contract for their academy star, the Gunners may be more receptive about Willock leaving the club this summer.
Willock shone on loan at St James’ Park last season – scoring eight times in 14 league matches
Willock moved to St James’ Park for the second half of last season, and quickly made a name for himself – scoring some vital goals to help Newcastle move well clear of the relegation zone.
The 21-year-old midfielder netted eight goals in 14 top-flight matches, and wrote his name into the Premier League history books by becoming the youngest player to score in seven straight matches at the end of the campaign.
And unsurprisingly, Bruce is desperate to bring Willock back to St James’ Park on a permanent basis.
Emile Smith Rowe’s new Arsenal contract could accelerate Newcastle’s move for Willock
Speaking after Newcastle’s pre-season friendly defeat by York City last weekend, Bruce said: ‘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.
‘We’d love to do something but it’s still Arsenal’s call.’
Following Thursday’s news about Smith Rowe, Bruce may now be more hopeful of securing a deal for Willock – who is desperate for regular first-team football.
It is still unclear what Arsenal will do with Willock but they could be likely to sell for over £20million in a bid to offset their own spending this summer.