Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is leaning towards keeping Joe Willock this summer due to the “uncertainty” over Emile Smith Rowe’s future, according to the Northern Echo.
The local newspaper’s Chief Sports Writer Scott Wilson reports that Arteta was tempted to sell Willock at the start of the summer, but Smith Rowe’s contract situation has changed things.
Aston Villa have been pursuing the 20-year-old in recent weeks, mainly due to the fact that the Gunners haven’t tied him down to a new deal, with negotiations having taken longer than expected.
While sources close to Arsenal claim that an agreement is expected soon, it seems it did lead Arteta to re-consider his view on Willock as well.
The 21-year-old impressed during a loan spell at Newcastle last season, and the Magpies were keen to take him on a permanent basis. However, he will now be given a chance to stay at the Emirates, with his performances in preseason likely to be a deciding factor.