Newcastle United loanee Joe Willock

Alex McLeish has backed Newcastle United to strike a deal to sign Joe Willock permanently from Arsenal.

The former Scotland boss, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, admitted the midfielder had been “inspirational” since joining the Magpies.

Speaking to talkSPORT, Steve Bruce revealed the club would look to make the 21-year-old’s loan stay permanent this summer.

As revealed by Football Insider, Willock has told teammates he wants to remain at St James’ Park next season, possibly on a permanent basis.

It is understood Newcastle have held talks with Arsenal over another loan move for the midfielder.

McLeish admitted he had been blown away by Willock and backed the Magpies to get a deal done.

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McLeish told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “Oh, my word. You talk about ‘impact’, that is a great word.

“Another great word is inspirational and that’s what the kid has been.

“To come up with the vital goals he’s come up with in recent weeks, it was truly incredible. 

“He’s ready to be plucked by Newcastle, depending on who they’re targeting for next season to make it not as stressful a season.”

Willock has scored in each of his last four appearances for the Magpies, including in the 4-2 win over Leicester City.

He has a netted five goals in 11 appearances for the Magpies, eight of which have come among the starting XI.

He played 17 times for Arsenal during the first half of the season but started just twice in the League.

A graduate of the Gunners’ academy, he has a total of 78 appearances under his belt for the club.

In other news, Newcastle United were handed an “absolutely huge” takeover boost on Monday.