Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Arteta says 21-year-old Arsenal youngster has already caught his eye in pre-season training

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Mikel Arteta has told Football London that Arsenal’s Joe Willock has caught his eye in training this week.

To stay or go?

Willock struggled for game time at Arsenal last season and was ultimately moved out on loan in January to Newcastle United.

It was there that the central midfielder really proved his ability to play in the Premier League, as he netted eight goals in 14 games for the Magpies.

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Willock’s goalscoring feats eclipsed any from an Arsenal midfielder, despite him only playing regularly for half a season.

There has now been talk that the youngster could be re-intergrated into Arsenal’s squad this time around.

Newcastle calling

Although the Times claim that Newcastle are in discussions over signing Willock again, it is not clear where Arsenal stand over selling him.

Willock actually didn’t feature in Arsenal’s first pre-season friendly, which they lost 2-1 to Hibernian last night.

But that was due to injury rather than transfer related, with Arteta suggesting that Willock has impressed him in pre-season so far.

“He wasn’t involved today because he had a little groin issue,” said Arteta.

Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

“He trained really well but we didn’t want to risk him. Joe is part of our plans, he’s our player and in the time that he is here we will try to make the most out of him.

“He had a great experience on loan. He was I think he was one of the most important players for their survival.”

There could be a gap in Arsenal’s midfield to fill this term, if the club do cash in on Granit Xhaka.

However, whether Willock would be the ideal fit in Arteta’s system is up for debate.

Willock doesn’t offer the same sort of defensive security that Xhaka does.

And with Arsenal on the verge of signing Albert Sambi Lokonga, it certainly seems that Willock could face a fight for a place.

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