Chelsea manager Frank Lampard is reportedly keen on handing Brazilian superstar Willian a new contract and has instructed the club to initiate negotiations.
As per a report from the Daily Express, Chelsea are set to open negotiations over a new contract with Brazilian winger Willian, who is in the last year of his current deal with the West London outfit.
Willian arrived at Chelsea from Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala in the summer of 2013 for £30 million, signed by then manager Jose Mourinho. The 31-year-old has been a permanent fixture in the side under all the managers that succeeded the Portuguese and has racked up 300 appearances for the Blues, netting 54 goals and setting up 53 more.
Willian has won 2 Premier League titles during his time at Stamford Bridge, along with an FA Cup and a League Cup as well as the UEFA Europa League last season. However, the Brazilian international is facing an uncertain future at the club as he has less than a year left on his current contract.
The 31-year-old’s contract situation has led to interest from clubs across Europe, with Italian champions Juventus reportedly plotting a Bosman move for the winger next summer, while La Liga champions Barcelona also have a long-standing interest in him.
Willian will be free to speak to clubs from outside of England from January and Chelsea want to avoid losing him on a free at the end of the season and as per the report, are planning to open talks over a new contract with the winger at the earliest.
The 69-time capped Brazil international is understood to be keen on extending his stay at Chelsea as he is settled in London. Speaking about the situation in a recent interview, he had said: “I am still relaxed. I am calm, I am relaxed. I wait for the club.”
Having returned from Brazil’s successful Copa America triumph in the summer, Willian, who took over Eden Hazard’s No. 10 jersey, started the season slowly. However, the 31-year-old has stepped up admirably in recent matches and has scored two in his last two matches, including the winner against Lille in the Champions League earlier this week.
“Really important – he’s a top player. I want to see him happy. I want to see a smile on his face because his work ethic has been brilliant. He can take people out of the game with his speed and trickery and he can score goals for us,” manager Lampard had said about Willian’s importance to the team after the midweek triumph against Lille.
As per the club’s policy for players over the age of 30, Chelsea are expected to hand a one-year deal to Willian. With the player keen on prolonging his stay at Stamford Bridge and Lampard also intent on working with him, the contract extension should go through without any hiccups in the coming weeks.