Willian’s future at Chelsea football club has been much talked about over the past few months. The Brazilian has rejected Chelsea’s recent proposals as they’ve refused to offer him a 3-year deal. The Blues are reluctant to offer a 31-year-old that length of contract but may have to compromise with the player’s agent doing his best to provide him with options elsewhere. The most realistic of those options is Arsenal, a couple of miles away in North London.
Willian’s agent Kia Joorabchian is known to have close ties with Arsenal more specifically the club’s Head of Football, Raul Sanllehi. The super-agent has not only offered his clients to Arsenal in the past but more recently helped the club sign Nicolas Pepe last summer. He’s very much involved in much of Arsenal’s current dealings and has enough influence to propose players to the club’s hierarchy. By the end of this summer, two of his client Philippe Coutinho and Willian could be wearing Arsenal colours.
First of all, let’s make this clear, Willian has been a great player for Chelsea. His ability to create chances for others, link up with teammates, beat a man to create space for himself and dead-ball deliveries are second to none. Since the lockdown, the Brazilian has been Chelsea’s most important player scoring 4 goals and providing 4 assists in 10 games. Without his contributions, the Blues wouldn’t have secured a top 4 spot. However, this doesn’t warrant a move to the Emirates.
Arsenal is in the midst of a major transitional period, with the club looking to secure the future of the club with youngsters from the academy and shrewd buys. Signing a 31-year-old winger should not be on their agenda at all. In the past, the Gunners have made it an unofficial policy not to offer players over 30 more than a 1-year deal.
This came even more to light when a 33-year-old David Luiz’s future at the club looked unlikely due to his agent demanding a 2-year deal with the club only offering one. In the end, the Brazilian had to concede as Arsenal stuck to their principles. Why would they now compromise those for Willian?
In addition to the length of the contract, Willian would also demand a sizeable weekly wage. Figures in excess of £200,000-a-week have been quoted and such a salary would make him one of the club’s top earners.
To offer Willian this wage would be close to ludicrous, especially considering the Gunners have just gotten rid of Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s massive wage bill whilst also regretting the £350,000-a-week contract they awarded to Mesut Ozil. Arsenal cannot offer Willian such a contract especially after requesting the current squad to take pay cuts due to COVID-19.
Other Areas in the Squad need Addressing
Like we said earlier, Willian is a great talent, but a winger is not Arsenal’s main priority this summer. The club is in desperate need of a left-sided centre-back, a defensive midfielder and a creative midfielder. These all rank higher in the pecking order than a winger, especially a 31-year-old one who’d demand a massive wage.
The Brazilian’s arrival would also take away precious playing time from the likes of Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli, two players who have excelled on the flanks this season. I don’t think there’s any Arsenal fan that would like to see the 31-year-old get playing time over the two wonderkids.