Decision making has never been Arsenal’s strong point, especially when it comes to transfers. From managerial changes to flopped signings, the Gunners rarely get it right. Now, in the case of Joe Willock, they’ve got it wrong again.
Willock is thriving on loan at Newcastle United- scoring five goals with four of those coming against Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and West Ham. Meanwhile, since sending the midfielder out on loan, Arsenal’s season has crashed and burned at the ironic hands of Unai Emery.
The Gunners no longer realistically have anything to play for, the Europa League is gone as is any good chance of reappearing in the competition next season. The fact is, and it’s a damming one, Joe Willock has had more of an impact on the Premier League’s top four race than Arsenal themselves.
Arteta handed Bukayo Saka a chance. He has thrived since. The same chance was handed to Emile Smith Rowe. Arteta saw the same result. So why not hand Joe Willock the same chance? That question remains unanswered. One that is now very much answered is whether Willock has a place at the Emirates next season or not.
Arteta would be a fool to leave the young midfielder out in the cold once again after such an impressive spell at Newcastle.
Joe Willock Proving Doubters Wrong on Loan and Dragging Newcastle to Survival
Proving He Can Do it Against the Best
Producing performance after performance against the lesser sides in the Premier League was never gong to convince on-watching Arsenal officials. So Willock had to make a statement. And what better way to make a statement than single-handedly throwing the top four race into question whilst dragging his side to survival?
He came up against Spurs- Arsenal’s bitter rivals- and dented their top four hopes with a last gasp goal. West Ham then followed hoping to continue their dream pursuit of Champions League football. Joe Willock’s late goal soon turned that fantasy into what could eventually become a broken dream.
The Arsenal loanee’s goals handed Liverpool a prime opportunity, but Willock once again struck. And to top things off, in his latest statement-sending performance, he netted in Newcastle United’s 4-2 thrashing of Leicester City.
Joe Willock has faced some of the most challenging teams in the league and made them look nothing more than mid-table sides. In the aforementioned four games, the Magpies and Willock didn’t suffer a single defeat.
Meanwhile, Willian, Thomas Partey, Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard have combined to score a grand total of one goal in the Premier League.
Did Joe Willock Need a Loan Move
As mentioned earlier, both Saka and Smith Rowe became key players when handed the chance. Arsenal are at their best when both players are on the pitch. Perhaps if Willock was given the same opportunity, he too would have become a key member of Arteta’s side.
Instead, Arteta and Arsenal favoured the error-prone Dani Ceballos; they opted for experience over the exuberance of youth. And they have since paid the price. Yet, it must be said, the argument is there that, without the loan move, Joe Willock wouldn’t have unlocked his clear ability for all to see.
For the sake of the bigger picture, maybe the loan move was needed. In the short-term, it has cost Arsenal. In the long run, it will only benefit the Gunners.
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