Willian’s proposed move to Arsenal this summer is gathering pace even though Chelsea are keen on working out a new deal.
According to ESPN Brazil journalist, Bruno Vicari, Arsenal have emerged as the likely destination for Willian this summer. The Chelsea winger has been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge, with his contract expiring at the end of the season. Although the Blues are keen on working out a new deal, the Arsenal hierarchy are confident of securing his services.
Willian’s priority is to stay in London but with his current club Chelsea appearing unwilling to offer the three-year extension he desires, Arsenal have emerged as the best option, it seems. However, the north London giants could face stiff competition from arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
The primary reason why Chelsea have refrained from offering Willian a three-year deal is because of the club’s policy of not offering long-term contracts to players who are 30 years or older. In addition, Frank Lampard is determined to build his team around young players, having already played a key role behind the emergence of stars like Tammy Abraham, Reece James and Fikayo Tomori this season.
Arsenal, meanwhile, have also adopted a similar philosophy although the club does need reinforcements in the attacking department. Mesut Ozil, in particular, has gone through a steady decline over the past few years and his hefty £350k-a-week salary has made him a financial liability.
Ozil is yet to feature in a single game since the restart-period, hinting that the ex-Real Madrid star could be on the verge of leaving Emirates in the summer. Willian, in that regard, should be an ideal replacement.
Although the Brazilian is not a like for like replacement for Ozil, he is more suited to Arteta’s tactical philosophy that revolves around dynamic wing play rather than a number ten running the show in the middle. In addition, Willian could offer the experience at the highest level of football, as well as the winning mentality, to an otherwise inexperienced Arsenal attack.
Another key factor that could benefit Arsenal is that the ex-Anzhi winger has been one of the most consistent attackers in the Premier League. Even at the age of 31, he has been involved in 16 Premier League goals this campaign, becoming a key component in Lampard’s attack-oriented tactics at Chelsea.
However, the Blues will certainly try their best to prevent Willian move to direct rivals next season. Hence, it will be interesting to see if the Blues do come up with a lucrative contract extension offer for the Brazilian.