Newcastle eye permanent Joe Willock transfer after Steve Bruce admission

Steve Bruce wants to sign Arsenal loanee and match winner Joe Willock permanently.

The Newcastle boss is hopeful a deal can be struck with the Gunners in the summer – but is unsure if the Tyneside club have the funds in a deal that could be worth £20m.

But Bruce has served notice to Mikel Arteta that he is interested in taking the 21-year-old match winner – rating him as the sort of player you can “build a club around.”

Willock has been a big hit on Tyneside with box to box energy and three crucial goals including a late header to beat West Ham.

Bruce said: “We'd love to keep him here. He is the type of player you want to build your club around. Whether that is possible I am not so sure.

“He won't want to be a super sub. As a young player I thought he had a really good impact. You dip them in and out. He is only 21 and a hell of a player and a great lad.

“He had a really good start and scored on his debut. He now has three goals and vitally important ones. The reason why we brought him was his ability to get forward and score.

“He is disappointed he didn't start. He was in my thoughts because he'd trained so well. I did feel he'd dropped off a little bit, but he is a young lad and that happens. So we are delighted he got the winner for us.”

Newcastle are virtually safe climbing nine points ahead of Fulham on Saturday night, but Bruce won't be celebrating after setting a fresh challenge.

He said: “I won't take anything for granted. You won't see me jumping and hollering. We have six games to play.

“Can we finish above where we did last year, points tally, position? We will do our utmost.”

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