JOE WILLOCK has hinted that his long-term future could lie at Newcastle United, but has warned the club’s supporters he can make no promises about whether he will make a permanent move from Arsenal this summer.

Having scored for the sixth successive game as he claimed the winner against Sheffield United on Wednesday night, Willock will attempt to make it a perfect seven when Newcastle head to Fulham for their final game of the season on Sunday.

The trip to Craven Cottage will mark the end of Willock’s hugely successful loan spell from Arsenal, and spark yet more questions about his future beyond the end of the current campaign.

Steve Bruce has publicly confirmed his desire to sign the 21-year-old on a number of occasions in the last few weeks, and while Mikel Arteta has refused to be explicitly drawn on his own intentions regarding the England Under-21 international, the Arsenal boss has dropped enough hints to suggest he is at least willing to consider a deal this summer if the price is right.

Much will depend on Willock’s own intentions, and having finally got the opportunity to play in front of some Newcastle fans on Wednesday, the youngster clearly relished the adulation that was showered on him both during the game and after the final whistle.

He will join his representatives in a meeting with Newcastle officials in the next few weeks, and with similar discussions set to take place with the hierarchy at Arsenal, appears receptive to the idea of a permanent move to the North-East.

Asked what message he had for Newcastle supporters in the wake of Wednesday’s win, Willock told NUFC TV: “I want to say thank you for making me feel so welcome and thank you for greeting me with open arms.

“I hope you’re satisfied with what I’ve given for the club so far and hopefully there’s more to continue in the future. I’m not going to promise anything, but the conversation is going to be held.”

Wednesday’s goal meant Willock became the first Newcastle player to score in six successive Premier League matches for the club since Papiss Cisse achieved the feat in 2012.

He is the youngest player to score in six successive Premier League games for any club, and having been signed in an attempt to increase Newcastle’s attacking threat from midfield, he has certainly delivered what was asked of him.

“To make history at this special club is special for me,” he added. “I came here on loan to help the team and it’s turned into a brilliant story. It’s been tremendous and I’m so happy that we can sign off with a win at home.”

As well as looking to hold on to Willock, Bruce will also be attempting to strengthen his squad with the addition of three or four signings once the transfer window formally reopens this summer.

Left-back is a priority position, with Matt Ritchie’s future uncertain and Jamal Lewis’ move from Norwich City not really having gone as planned, and as well as exploring the possibility of re-signing former loanee Jetro Willems, Newcastle’s recruitment team are also lining up an approach for Benfica’s £6m-rated youngster Nuno Tavares.

The 21-year-old is a Portugal Under-21 international who rose through the ranks at Benfica and made his senior debut in 2019.

He made 14 top-flight appearances this season as Benfica finished in third position behind Sporting Libson and Porto, and is expected to leave the Portuguese capital this summer, with Burnley also having been linked with a possible move for his services.