Both young Gunners left on loan during the January transfer window, with Maitland-Niles joining West Brom and Willock moving to Newcastle
Mikel Arteta says firm decisions on the future of Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Joe Willock will be made this summer.
Both players were allowed to leave Arsenal on loan during the January transfer window, with Maitland-Niles joining West Brom and Willock moving to Newcastle.
They are due to return to north London at the end of the season, with no deal including an option to make the move permanent, and talks will then take place to determine what their long-term future may hold.
“I expect all the loans will come back and we will make a decision this summer,” Arteta said.
Willock has made 17 appearances in all competitions this season for Arsenal, scoring three goals.
He only started twice in the Premier League, however, and Arteta felt the time had come for the 21-year-old midfielder to experience some consistent playing time in the top flight.
“Joe’s situation was very clear to me,” said the Spaniard.
“We talked this summer about a possible loan and I told him that I was not comfortable with that because I wanted to give him minutes to play different competitions. He played 17 or 18 games during that time, which is a lot.
“He played at a great level, but now we have less competitions and I thought he would have less time and that probably the best thing to do would be to give him 14, 15, 16 games in the Premier League.
“To have 30 to 32 games in a season for his age and with what he’s been doing in the last few years would be a really positive thing.
“We have found the right club manager and the right coaching staff. So I hope it will be a fruitful period for him.
Maitland-Niles, meanwhile, was desperate to go on loan in January to give himself a chance to be part of Gareth Southgate’s England squad for this summer’s European Championships.
Arsenal rejected an offer of more than £ 20million from Wolves for the 23-year-old last summer, with Arteta deciding he wanted to keep his hand on the all-rounder.
But he has only started five Premier League games since then and as the European Championships approached Maitland-Niles knew he had to come out to save more time.
“Ainsley is a different phase of its development [to Willock] and is an England international, ”Arteta said.
“He played more games and he wanted to start games and he wanted that guarantee and in my place it was really different doing it.
“He was ready to go through something else and I decided to allow him to do so. He can play in different positions and could have the opportunity to play in midfield, which is important to him.
“When a player’s primary will is not financial and it’s just about playing football, then it’s really hard to get in his way when you don’t feel like he’s going to start a lot. of matches. “