Joe Willock has to be Newcastle United’s top summer transfer priority.
Signed on loan from Arsenal during the January transfer window, Willock quickly became a fan favourite on Tyneside.
He finished his loan with eight goals in 14 games for Newcastle, including seven goals in seven games, matching Alan Shearer’s record for consecutive games with a goal for the Magpies.
Willock will surely cost at least £20million, meaning Newcastle will have to dig deep to get him back to St James’ Park next season – but there could be a swap deal that would help.
The Chronicle report Arsenal are interested in signing goalkeeper Freddie Woodman from Newcastle, who has been on loan at Swansea City for two years.
Woodman’s father Andy was part of Arsenal’s coaching staff until recently, but that hasn’t deterred them from pursuing a deal for the Englishman.
Mat Ryan’s loan spell is over and Bernd Leno’s future is unclear, so a move to bring in Woodman – a homegrown goalkeeper – does make sense for Arsenal.
Newcastle may not fancy losing Woodman, but they have Martin Dubravka, Karl Darlow and Mark Gillespie, so losing another goalkeeper to help bring in Willock doesn’t seem so bad.
Sending Woodman to Arsenal wouldn’t bring down the price too much, but it may bring the fee closer to Newcastle’s budget.
Swaps and part-exchanges are never easy, but if Newcastle can bring the price for Willock down by sending Woodman to North London, it’s something they should explore.