Willian is on the move for the first time in his Premier League career.
The Brazilian winger and former Chelsea man signed with Arsenal on a three-year deal worth 100,000 pounds a week.
After weeks of back and forth with Chelsea, Willian finally decided it was time to move on.
The signing has ramifications for both teams as they look to return to their former glory.
Chelsea: Was It Really Willian’s Time to Go?
Short Answer: Yes.
Not minding the fact that the Blues have already found a Willian replacement in Timo Werner who was signed from RB Leipzig in June, Willian really didn’t have a place on next year’s Chelsea squad. For the past couple of seasons, his play has slowly declined and that was especially apparent in the restart following the COVID-19 break. Willian just didn’t look like himself. The dribbling skill and pace were still there but what really fell off was his passing.
Only two assists after the restart, a surprisingly low number for a player who was at the front of the Chelsea attack. His corners and free kicks were abysmal. By the end of the season, Mateo Kovacic was the primary man on set pieces. Willian was on the sidelines, hamstrung by a nagging leg injury.
That brings us to the second reason why Chelsea needed to move on from Willian: playing time.
Chelsea’s front line is absolutely stacked. Werner leads an attack for the Blues that is arguably the best in the Premier League. Captain America Christian Pulisic had an incredible fresham Premier League campaign and only will improve going forward. Tammy Abraham showed glimpses of brilliance before the restart. Attacking midfielder Hakim Ziyech’s long passing ability brings a new facet to the offense.
The list of attackers goes on. At Willian’s age and ability, there was simply no room on Frank Lampard’s roster. His leadership and veteran presence will be missed but the marriage between club and player was simply no longer viable.
Arsenal: Does the Price Justify the Production?
Yes and Here’s Why.
From a tactics perspective, this is a great fit for Arsenal. Wingers with Willian’s speed and quickness don’t get signed on free transfers very often. The Gunners have two of the best forwards in the Premier League with Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. However, their biggest struggle outside of defending was getting the ball to their talented strikers. Willian fills the need for a creator who has the pace to get by defenders.
Manager Mikel Arteta said versatility was a major reason why he pushed for the Brazilian’s signing. Willian adds depth to a team that needs depth in order to make a run at the title.
Now, the contract comes with issues that were mentioned earlier.
A three-year contract is almost unheard of in the top flight for a player of Willian’s age. Chelsea offered multiple two-year contracts to the Brazilian and each time he turned them down. Willian knew what Arsenal was going to give him and held out, even though multiple reports indicated that he would have preferred to stay in West London. For Arsenal, the player is worth the extra year. They are in a win-now mentality as big clubs always are. Fans can groan all they want about the contract but the bottom line is that this deal helps Arsenal.
This is a win, win deal.
Chelsea moves on from a player that no longer had a spot in their squad. Arsenal picks up a much needed veteran piece.
The move is controversial but at the end of the day, both sides go home happy.
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