Mikel Arteta and Edu have been warned against selling Arsenal midfielder Joe Willock permanently this summer.
In an attempt to improve on last season’s eighth-placed Premier League finish, the Gunners manager is expected to be backed heavily in the summer transfer market with Nuno Tavares and Albert Lokonga signed, whilst a £50m deal for Ben White is close to completion.
Although there are expected to be several players leaving the Emirates Stadium including Willock, who has been linked with a return to Newcastle United as well as a surprise move to AS Monaco.
The midfielder enjoyed a rather stunning second half of last season on loan at St James’ Park as he netted eight goals in 14 Premier League appearances to leave Arteta and Edu with a massive transfer decision to make.
One that should not be to cash in on the Hale End graduate as former Gunners left-back Nigel Winterburn has insisted that a loan deal would be the best option.
“There is no way I would sell Joe Willock. I would say that he’s got to get more game time or he’s got to go out on loan again for what I would class as a ‘final assessment’ for Arsenal,” Winterburn told GentingBet.
“There is something there with him. I have no doubt in my mind about that. He proved that by playing regularly for Newcastle where his consistency levels increased.
“I think when we saw him at Arsenal, when I saw him in the Europa League, he looked a strong, strong player. But when he came and had the odd game in the Premier League, you’re talking about a different level.
“I don’t think we saw that same level of performance. But in saying that, to ask a young man to come in on one-off games and be at that level is very, very hard.
“Of course, on the flipside, he might be thinking that, ‘I went to Newcastle, I played, I did very well, I’m getting some good reviews. Now might be the time to leave Arsenal if I can’t get a game’.
“So, you always get that when you talk about loaning players out. It depends on where he might think his future is at Arsenal. He wants to be at Arsenal. But if he’s not getting the game time, he might have to move away.
“But I don’t think Joe is somebody at the moment that Arsenal should be letting go, but opportunities will be more limited without European football so the club might think it is best to loan him to a Premier League club to gain experience, because Newcastle would take him back straightaway.
Get the latest Arsenal transfer news straight to your inbox
The transfer window is in full swing and things are beginning to ramp up with Edu and Mikel Arteta’s dealings at the Emirates.
By signing up to our newsletter here, you’ll be kept up to date on the latest news and rumours as they break, all in one place. You’ll also receive exclusive insight and articles from club writers Chris Wheatley and Kaya Kaynak, plus a daily transfer round-up of all the day’s rumours and news, all for free!
We also want to hear from you. Create an account here in just a few moments, so you can have your say on all things Arsenal, join the debate and take part in exclusive Q&As as well.
“The club can then see how he develops again for another season and then it’s judgement day then, come the end of this season. He could then start getting starts at Arsenal or you might as well sell him while his stock is pretty high.
“But I, personally, would not be selling him just yet.”
What may please Winterburn is the fact that Arteta and Edu appear to have already made the decision to loan Willock out for the 2021/22 campaign.
Therefore, it may just be a matter of time before the England U21 international’s ‘final assessment’ for Arsenal can commence.
Do you want an exclusive pre-season Arsenal preview – both in your inbox and through your letterbox? Head over here to find out more and secure your copy!