How could Willian fit in at Arsenal?
Chelsea winger is available on a free transfer
After winning the FA Cup final on Saturday, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will be working away on his plans to improve the squad.
One player that’s been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates is Chelsea winger Willian. Injury ruled him out at Wembley, but he could move across London on a free transfer.
If he does switch blue for red, what would he add to the Arsenal set-up?
Performances and results have improved for Arsenal since Arteta came in, but there’s still a lack of creativity throughout the side, especially against teams that are happy to sit deep.
For all of the doubts about their defending, they could do with more firepower in the final third if they’re going to challenge. The North Londoners scored 56 league goals this season, at least 10 less than every side that finished in the top four.
Willian either scored or created 16 goals in the league this season – more than every Arsenal player bar Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. He’s handy at set pieces, while his speed and skill can cause real problems for opposition defences.
His versality could also be very useful. He’s able to play on either flank, which means Aubameyang could play centrally more often, or as a number ten. Arteta would appreciate his willingness to track back too.
Arsenal will hope the upcoming campaign is their last outside the Champions League and Willian won’t need any time to adapt to English football after seven years at Stamford Bridge.
The 31-year-old would bring winning experience to the dressing room, having two league titles, the FA Cup, EFL Cup and Europa League with Chelsea.
Arteta has plenty of exciting young talent to call on, with the likes of Bukayo Saka, Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Martinelli impressing last term. But they’re not the finished article yet and they’re going to go through spells of inconsistency as they continue to hone their skills.
Willian could help to ease the pressure on Arsenal’s youngsters, while not necessarily blocking opportunities for Arsenal’s youngsters in the longer term.
Is he worth it?
The Brazil international is reported to want a three-year deal, presumably on big wages. He can still contribute at a high level now, but how will he perform a year or two down the line? It’s something the Gunners will need to consider very carefully, given how tight money could be moving forwards.
Arsenal are already stuck with one ageing midfielder on a huge contract in Mesut Ozil. The playmaker is now so far out of the first-team picture that he was visiting Turkey while the team played in the FA Cup final.
But bringing in a proven performer without a transfer fee would be very tempting. He’d add quality and give Arteta real flexibility in attacking areas. Even if they only get one good year out of him, would it be worth it if his arrival helps to seal a top-four finish?
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