KEY POINTS

  • Newcastle United plans to sit down with Arsenal to officially acquire Joe Willock
  • Willock is seen as a key piece by Magpies manager Steve Bruce
  • Bruce's future with the club also faces uncertainty 

Newcastle United knows that it has to start preparing for the future, and part of that is identifying the people who they want to keep.

It appears one of them is Joe Willock as he is currently on loan to the Magpies.

The English player is still technically under Arsenal, but club manager Steve Bruce plans to discuss a permanent deal scenario with the Gunners.

After steering themselves clear of the relegation zone, Bruce is planning ahead for years to come. However, even the manager himself is unsure of what the future holds–a different set of discussions that will also be on the table.

As for Willock, Bruce has more than enough reason to keep the footballer. He has scored five goals in 11 appearances so far during his spell at St. James Park.

Willock has undoubtedly broken out of his shell, and now the Magpies are eager to see him bloom while on Tyneside.

"He’s 21, a midfield player and he’s got five goals since the turn of the year, so of course we want him–but we have to respect that he’s Arsenal’s player," Bruce stated to talkSPORT. "I’m sure Arsenal will have big discussions this summer, but if there’s a possibility that we can bring him back we’d love to do it."

But Willock is not the only player that the Magpies are trying to keep.

Despite growing interest, Newcastle United made it clear that Alan Saint-Maximin is not for sale.

Only 24 years old, the French footballer is seen as an integral part of Newcastle United’s long-term plans.

Joe Willock of Arsenal Joe Willock of Arsenal Photo: Getty Images | Julian Finney

"He has wonderful natural ability and it wouldn't surprise me if other teams are looking because his ability is there for everybody to see,” Bruce explained. "He is a very gifted individual and young, of course. The last thing we want to be doing is selling our better players, that is for sure."

As for Bruce, his tenure is also up in the air. His contract runs out at the end of the season, and discussions will be held in the summer.

The 60-year-old is aware that this is something he has no control over but stated it is too early for him to retire.