Joe Willock was right to reject a loan move to Luton Town in the January transfer window, as it wasn’t the move he needs to further his development at this stage.
A day before the January deadline, John Cross of the Mirror reported that Willock had rejected the chance to join League One Luton on loan until the end of the season. For me, that’s absolutely the correct decision.
Willock was one of four stars of Arsenal’s u23 Premier League 2 title-winning 2017/18 campaign to get a loan offer this season. Reiss Nelson, as we all know, moved to Bundesliga club Hoffenheim. Emile Smith Rowe is joining him in Germany on loan with RB Leipzig.
Eddie Nketiah’s move to Augsburg seems to have fallen through, but once again that was a great move to a club in one of Europe’s top five leagues with plenty of playing opportunities up for grabs.
Meanwhile, Willock’s offer was to drop two leagues down the English football pyramid, to play against teams he’s already been playing against with the u21s in the Checkatrade Trophy.
More than that, Luton are top of the league and pushing for promotion. Generally, teams that are doing well don’t tend to drop players from their lineup, so Willock wouldn’t even be guaranteed game time.
The overwhelming response to Willock’s rejection from Luton fans was “he wouldn’t get a place in our team”. Whilst this was probably partly bitterness at being turned down, it’s also exactly the problem!
He wouldn't get a place in our team!
— Allison Fox (@comeonhatters) January 30, 2019
— Sir Johnny Too Bad 🇬🇧🏴 (@lutonloyal) January 31, 2019
Don’t need him
— Alan Stevens (@stevensalan13) January 30, 2019
Loan moves are only beneficial if they give you the chance to test yourself. Bundesliga football would have been a challenge for Willock, the same goes for Championship football. Fighting to get into the best team in the English third tier as they rack up wins against even weaker teams isn’t what he needs right now.
It’s better for the 19-year-old to keep training with the Arsenal first team on a daily basis and pushing for chances. Alternatively, if a better loan option turns up in the final hours of the window, that would be good too.