Arsenal are in the midst of a hectic summer transfer window, as the club looks to bridge the gap between themselves and the top four.
As reported by football.london back in May, Mikel Arteta plans to acquire at least five new faces before the window shuts, with a goalkeeper, right-back, and creative midfielder all still on the agenda.
But it’s also imperative that the club shift out players who are deemed surplus to requirements, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah, and Hector Bellerin all reportedly amongst a whole host of names available for sale.
Joe Willock is another who could potentially be sold if the price is right. The 21-year old enjoyed an excellent spell on loan at Newcastle, scoring in seven consecutive games – the youngest player in Premier League history to reach this feat.
The form illustrated by Willock is yet another example of a club reaping the rewards of the loan system as moving to Tyneside allowed him to seek regular first-team football, and further refine attributes within his game.
Unsurprisingly, this led to Arteta stressing how he plans on keeping the Hale End graduate at the club.
“Well for sure because he’s got a contract and he’s going to be here, so that’s for sure,” Arteta said after being asked about Willock’s current situation.
“He will be back with us, we will have those conversations with him and plan the next years for him.”
However, it looks like Willock could be on the move, with reports indicating that the Gunners have agreed on a deal for his purchase.
The Arsenal youngster added more fuel to his potential transfer after appearing to like an Instagram post that linked him with a move away from the Emirates.
There is uncertainty around where Willock currently fits in Arteta’s system. Since boxing day, Emile Smith Rowe’s availability allowed the Spaniard to deviate away from the hybrid 3-4-3 and move to a 4-2-3-1; a system the Arsenal boss began with when he took over back in 2019.
In possession and during the build-up phase, Arsenal utilise a 3-2-5 shape before transitioning into a 2-3-5 once the ball is progressed into the opposition half.
The three behind the front five consists of a right-back and two central midfielders, which ensures that enough protection is provided in front of the two central defenders.
It’s a formation that currently doesn’t suit Willock since, within this setup, he would either be tasked with remaining disciplined in a double pivot or would have to play between the lines in the number 10 position – two roles that aren’t tailored to his attributes.
Willock thrives when he’s given license to bomb forward and make penetrative forward runs into the box – a quality that former club star Aaron Ramsey regularly provided.
It’s exactly why he flourished under Magpies boss Steve Bruce as the Newcastle manager plays with a midfield three as opposed to a midfield pivot.
Willock was at London Colney on Friday for Arsenal’s 2021/2022 Premier League photo-shoot, but it will be interesting to see how his situation unfolds in the coming weeks.
Source by Football London