Newcastle United are close to completing the signing of Arsenal midfielder Joe Willock after a breakthrough in negotiations over the player’s personal terms.
Willock has been the top target for Steve Bruce after his impressive loan spell at St James’ Park last season and the two clubs have agreed a fee of £22 million for the 21-year-old.
Willock scored eight goals in 14 appearances for Newcastle last season after joining the club on loan in the January transfer window.
The imminent sale of the midfielder will provide some much-needed funds for Arsenal as they look to rebuild their squad this summer. Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu had hoped for a dramatic overhaul but they have so far struggled to find buyers for their unwanted players.
Speaking on Thursday morning, Arteta said Willock had put himself in a “strong position” and had earned the power to choose the right option for his career.
“We had some conversations,” said Arteta. “It is not only about what we want to do. It is the player’s interest and the role that a player can field in a squad and in a club.
“What he has done is put himself in a really strong position where he can choose a little bit with more options of what his future could look like, and this is what we are trying to define right now.”
Arsenal will hope to use the funds generated by Willock’s sale in their pursuit of a new goalkeeper and attacking midfielder in the next few weeks.
Real Madrid’s Martin Odegaard remains an attractive option for the club but his situation in Spain is still unclear. Arsenal have also shown interest in Sheffield United goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale but talks have hit a brick wall over the significant difference in valuation between the two clubs.
Slavisa Jokanovic, the Sheffield United manager, insisted they have no interest in selling the goalkeeper. “We are happy working with him, he is going to be expensive and we have no intention of selling him,” said Jokanovic.
Meanwhile, Arteta has said Arsenal’s decision to take part in the latest All or Nothing documentary series, which is centred on behind-the-scenes footage, was made entirely by the club.
Asked if he was given a choice in the matter, Arteta said: “No. It is a decision made by the club, in the best possible interests of the football club.
“We are going to help as much as possible, for everybody to see what this club means and how things are done at the club.”
Scott Dann leaves Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace have confirmed Scott Dann’s departure after seven years at Selhurst Park.
The defender joined in 2014 from Blackburn and captained the Eagles on numerous occasions while making 181 appearances, scoring 17 goals for the Premier League club.
Dann, who was out of contract at the end of last season, said: “I feel like I’ve gone through everything you can as a footballer in this time and I am proud to have served and captained Crystal Palace.
“I also want to take this opportunity to thank the Palace fans who’ve been incredible from the moment I joined.”
Chairman Steve Parish paid tribute to the centre-back, adding: “Scott has been a magnificent player and club servant since 2014 and I’d like to personally thank him for his immense contribution and his professionalism over the years.
“Scott was a great leader on the pitch and served the club as captain during his time with us. He leaves with the utmost respect of everyone at the club – and we wish him well for the future.”