By Noel Whelan

14th Jun, 2021 | 4:00pm

Pundit predicts Bruce's first phone call after Newcastle 'war chest' reported

Steve Bruce’s first move in the transfer window should be to ask Arsenal how much it will take to make Joe Willock a permanent Newcastle United player. 

That’s according to former Leeds striker, Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider about the Magpies’ transfer plans.

On Sunday (13th June) transfer guru Alan Nixon claimed Bruce has been given a £50million “war chest” by Mike Ashley.

On 22nd April, Football Insider revealed Willock told his Newcastle teammates that he was open to moving to St James’ Park on a permanent basis after enjoying his time in the North East.

The Arsenal midfielder, 21, moved to Newcastle on loan in the winter and helped the club avoid relegation.

He scored seven goals in the Toon’s last seven games and became a firm fan favourite before returning to Arsenal.

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Whelan insists Bruce must start negotiating a deal for Willock if this £50million report is accurate.

“If that’s accurate, that’s Bruce’s first phone call,” Whelan told Football Insider correspondent Ben Wild.

“They need fresh faces and hungry players. He’s definitely one of them. He’s shown that appetite to go out from Arsenal. 

“He’s shown Arsenal what they are missing and showing Newcastle what they could have. 

“He’s got energy, he can get goals, he’s always positive. But they need more than that. 

“They could do with a couple in midfield but £50million isn’t a war chest. That’s two quality players. 

“You have to spend that money wisely and be clever in the transfer market. Maybe he has to look at some out of contract players.”

Willock scored eight goals for Newcastle in total.

He became the first Toon player to score in seven consecutive games since Alan Shearer.

In other news, Robinson claims Newcastle could be about to sign Hendrick 2.0.