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Willock leaves Arsenal to join Newcastle

Newcastle secured the signing of Arsenal midfielder Joe Willock on Friday on a permanent deal after an impressive loan spell on Tyneside last season.

Willock, 21, scored eight goals for the Magpies in just 14 Premier League appearances, including matching Newcastle legend Alan Shearer’s record of scoring in seven consecutive games to end the season.

Newcastle are reported to have paid over £20 million ($27 million) for the England under-21 international.

“I’m buzzing to be here,” Willock said in a Newcastle statement. “I loved my time here last season and I’m really happy to be back and to be a Newcastle United player.

“Leaving Arsenal is obviously a big step, and I’d like to thank everyone involved with the club for all their support over the years, but this is the right move to the right club at the right time for me.”

Willock is Newcastle’s first signing of the transfer window amid more supporter unrest at owner Mike Ashley’s lack of ambition.

However, manager Steve Bruce praised the club hierarchy for tying Willock down to a six-year contract.

“Where else can you find a 21-year-old who scored seven goals on the trot and fill the shoes of Joe? There are not many around, so fair play to everybody concerned,” said Bruce.

“There were times when I didn’t think it was going to happen, but fair play to (managing director) Lee (Charnley) and everybody concerned, we’ve managed to get it over the line.”

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