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Newcastle United looking to sign Arsenal's Joe Willock on £20m permanent deal - Getty Images

Newcastle United looking to sign Arsenal’s Joe Willock on £20m permanent deal – Getty Images

Steve Bruce has confirmed that Newcastle United are trying to sign Arsenal midfielder Joe Willock following a successful loan spell on Tyneside.

The England Under 21 international has scored three goals in nine appearances for Newcastle since he arrived on loan in January, including the winner against West Ham last weekend that moved the Magpies eight points clear of the bottom three.

Arsenal are understood to be open to the idea of selling their Academy graduate, with an asking price in the region of £20m and Newcastle should be at the front of the queue given how much he has enjoyed his time on Tyneside.

Bruce would certainly like to make him first summer signing, pointing out that Willock has all the attributes you want in a modern midfielder.

“It was quite refreshing hearing him yesterday talking about going out and seeing the sea, driving out to the coast,” said Bruce ahead of Saturday’s trip to Liverpool. “Living in London, I don’t think he sees that very often.

“I believe he is enjoying it here, he wants to be in the team, but he has scored three goals and the last two, particularly the last one [the winner against West Ham] were vitally important. You could see by his elation that he was delighted for the team. He’s a young lad and I’d love to keep him here and we will have some big conversations with Arsenal [about doing that].”

Willock has struggled to break into the first team on a consistent basis at Arsenal and a move may well be the best thing for his career. Newcastle have also used him as an impact substitute in recent games but if he were to move on a permanent basis, Bruce will make him an integral part of the side next season.

“He’s the modern day player, young, athletic and quick,” added the Newcastle manager. “He’s only 21 years old and he’s got a big, big future.

“There are lots of conversations to be had. I think he has thoroughly enjoyed it here and certainly the adulation he received last week after scoring the winner. He has scored three big goals for us since he’s been here. Why wouldn’t I want to sign him?

“He gives us a bit of pace, he’s athletic and he can score a goal. He’s got real pace, he’s arguably as quick as anyone we have got at the club.

“We will have to have a conversation with Arsenal first. It’s a bit disrespectful of me to talk about him because he is still their player, but certainly, the move has helped him and it has helped us. If there is something that can be done [to sign him] I would love to do it.”

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