Arsenal midfielder Joe Willock. [Agencies]

Newcastle United have completed the signing of midfielder Joe Willock from Premier League rivals Arsenal for an undisclosed fee, the club confirmed on Friday, with manager Steve Bruce saying the 21-year-old had signed a six-year contract.

British media reported that the deal was worth 25 million pounds ($34.50 million) including add-ons.

Willock, who becomes Bruce’s first signing this summer, enjoyed a successful loan spell on Tyneside last season, scoring eight goals in 14 league appearances after arriving at St James’ Park in January.

“We explored the loan situation to begin with but have signed him permanently… We have him for six years now, which is great,” Bruce told a news conference earlier on Friday as Willock was having his medical.

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Willock said he was “buzzing” to be at Newcastle.

“I loved my time here last season and I’m really happy to be back and to be a Newcastle player,” he told the club’s website.

“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.”

An Arsenal academy graduate, Willock played 78 times for the north London club after making his senior debut in September 2017. He made 16 appearances in all competitions for Mikel Arteta’s side during the first half of 2020-21.

Newcastle, who finished 12th last season, are at home to West Ham United in the league on Sunday.

They will be without first choice goalkeeper Martin Dubravka due to injury while back-up Karl Darlow is still recovering from COVID-19.

“He’s been suffering… and for any young people out there not having this jab, this is a prime example,” Bruce added. “He’s been in hospital for over a week, dropped a stone in weight and its knocked him around.”

 

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