Swapping North London for Portugal, will Chris Willock rue not going to Leeds or Newcastle?

Leeds fans celebrate their team's victory during the Sky Bet Championship match between Leeds United and Derby County at Elland Road on November 29, 2014 in Leeds, England.

Leeds United and Newcastle were both keen to give former Arsenal youngster Chris Willock a better chance of first team football.

Chris Willock of SL Benfica in action during the Emirates Cup match between RB Leipzig and SL Benfica at Emirates Stadium on July 30, 2017 in London, England.

Chris Willock made a brave decision rejecting a new deal at Arsenal to further his football education in Lisbon.

The England youth star swapped North London for Benfica in the summer in a rare example of a homegrown player trying his hand abroad. So far, however, Willock still seems some way away from challenging for a first-team place at the reigning Primeira Liga champions.

Willock’s first few months in Portugal have seen him stuck in the B team. And according to The Mirror (29th December, 11.14am) the likes of Leeds and Newcastle United were keen to offer the winger a short-term return to England to get some much-needed senior football under his belt.

Chris Willock of Arsenal is challenged by Joe Muscatt of Tottenham Hotspur during the Premier League 2 match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at Tottenham Hotspur Training Centre on...

A technically gifted and dynamic left-sider who is blessed with an eye for goal, Willock would surely have had a good chance of forcing his way into Leeds’ side had he moved to Elland Road on loan in January.

After all, Ezgjan Alioski, Pablo Hernandez and Kemar Roofe have all endured indifferent starts to 2018 and the first two in particular could benefit from some time out. Willock, then, would have been a fine player to bring in.

And the 20-year-old might have featured relatively regularly at Newcastle too. After all, it is perhaps unlikely that Rafa Benitez would have brought in Chelsea’s Brazilian winger Kenedy had Willock arrived at St James’ Park earlier in the transfer window.

Nick Tsaroulla of Tottenham Hotspur holds off Chris Willock of Arsenal during the Premier League 2 match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at London Colney on March 3, 2017 in St...

Christian Atsu has also been in and out of the Newcastle side so Willock could have added some pace and incision on the flanks for a side who have scored less than a goal a game.

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