Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce is set to face a major transfer battle in the race to sign Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher.
According to recent reports from journalist Alan Nixon, the Magpies have got their eye on the 21-year-old starlet, with the midfielder having spent the previous campaign on loan at fellow Premier League side West Brom.
Now, The Daily Mail claim that while Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is keen to take a look at him before making any decision, Crystal Palace are keen to sign him right now.
If Bruce can get a deal over the line for Willock, then partnering him with Gallagher in the middle of the park could be the start of a dream midfield duo for Newcastle next season in the Premier League.
Despite not making too many waves in his time back at Stamford Bridge, Gallagher has been widely praised during his loan spells, with former Charlton boss Lee Bowyer even calling the £26m-rated midfielder a “jewel” that was “impossible to replace.”
And during his time at Swansea last year, Sky Sports pundit Keith Andrews lauded the “unbelievable” energy Gallagher possesses, even comparing him to Chelsea icon Frank Lampard.
He said: “But the one thing he has got is a fantastic engine, much like Lee Bowyer or Frank Lampard – it’s amazing, the resemblances between those two in their younger years particularly. But for me, he’s a classic No 8; he has an unbelievable energy, he does the ugly side of the game, but you have to let him off the leash and let him get forward.”
While two goals and two assists in the Premier League with West Brom last season is hardly anything to write home about, the Magpies wouldn’t need him to be a real goal threat if Willock were to put pen to paper on a permanent deal.
Gallagher could sit a touch deeper and break into the box from time to time rather than as the “classic no.8”, and be more of a destructive presence in the engine room – his 2.7 tackles per game in the top-flight actually ranked him in the top ten of the entire Premier League.
With Willock’s dynamism and eye for goal, and Gallagher’s energy and bite, Newcastle could have a superb midfield duo that compliment each other well.