The transfer saga of Chelsea winger Willian has been a big talking point over the last few weeks for Arsenal fans and, according to the Telegraph, his future will be sorted out after the FA Cup final on Saturday.
The 31-year-old is out of contract in the summer and Arsenal are reportedly keen to strike a deal with the Brazilian forward, who is asking for a three-year contract.
The Telegraph continue by saying the size of the offer to Willian from Arsenal will depend on the outcome of the FA Cup final, with finances at the club very tight as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Guardian also reported the likelihood of Willian signing a new three-year deal at Chelsea is slim, despite Lampard wanting him to stay, and there is a growing expectation he will end up at Arsenal.
This news won’t be a huge surprise for Gunners fans, as Willian’s agent Kia Joorabchian is an Arsenal fan himself, and has very close connections with the club’s transfer committee. He was also heavily involved in David Luiz’ transfer from Chelsea to the Gunners last summer, meaning a repeat switch of clubs could be on the cards again for another Brazilian.
Joorabchian revealed when talking to Talksport that his client has received a number of good offers from teams around the world for his services, including from the Premier League. Joorabchian said: “He has two concrete offers from Premier League clubs on the table, he has an MLS offer on the table which is very big, and he’s got two other offers in Europe.
“So Willian is in a very good position and he is going to make his decision after the last game of the season.”
However, would Willian actually be a good signing for Mikel Arteta’s men? Here are the positives and negatives to the Brazilian’s potential switch across London.
Firstly, Willian has finished the 2019/20 Premier League season with nine goals and seven assists, meaning only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has accumulated more goal contributions than the Brazilian this season.
The Chelsea winger has more assists in the league than any other Arsenal player, and has also played, on average, 2.1 key passes per game, the same as Arsenal’s highest Mesut Ozil, although the winger has played 18 more matches. Willian has also created 76 chances in the Premier League this season, the seventh most in the league.
However, whilst the winger will add a greater attacking threat to Arsenal’s team, there are other factors that need to be considered, for example, the financial aspect of the deal.
Given it is a free transfer, it is hard to complain in that aspect, however, according to Spotrac, the Brazilian earns £138,000 per week, which would make him the fifth highest paid player at Arsenal. Given there is no transfer fee, the winger will most likely demand a higher wage than that too.
Furthermore, Willian could potentially be blocking the path to the first team of young wingers such as Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Reiss Nelson, all of whom are at that stage in their career where they need regular game time to develop. Unless one of them were to be loaned out, this would not make a great amount of sense.
Overall, everyone will have different views on Willian’s potential transfer, but personally, I am not too convinced. The Brazilian certainly has the quality to make an impact, however is it worth paying high wages to a player who won’t even be a starter?
Arsenal have just got the £180,000 per week they paid to Henrikh Mkhitaryan off the wage bill, so would it be wise to splash that cash on another ageing winger, especially with all the financial troubles the Covid-19 pandemic has brought?
In my opinion, I don’t think Willian’s signing would be a wise one financially, along with the fact that Arsenal’s talented wingers would get less game time next season. However, if the Brazilian was willing to take a significant pay cut, I wouldn’t be against it, given the positive impact he could have in attack, and also the advice he could give to our young wingers given his experience.
*all stats provided by WhoScored.com