Arsenal is looking more and more likely to pluck Willian from Chelsea, so let’s spin the script and get optimistic. Here are three reasons this is a good thing.
Ever since this rumor first emerged, I have filed it under the “please, God, no, never” category. It’s been right by the files of Chris Smalling and Jesse Lingard. But seeing as how it’s looking more and more likely that Arsenal will secure the services of Willian, let me put on my token American optimism and make this seem like a good thing.
Willian has been speaking fairly openly about how little trouble it would be to play for a rival of Chelsea, despite spending half a decade at Stamford Bridge. From that mix, Arsenal and Tottenham have emerged as the chief suitors, and while it doesn’t make the list, an honorable mention for signing Willian has to be denying Spurs from getting him.
Having always been jealous of Willian, it won’t take much for me to drum up some optimism. I’ve been at it for a few days now. So let’s see what happens.
We’ll start with No. 3.
3. He’s free
Even if you don’t need someone, if they end up being free, what do you actually lose? If we sell Henrikh Mkhitaryan for around £10m and add Willian for nothing, guess who wins? Everyone. And while Willian does immediately conflict with the presence of Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli, he doesn’t get in the way of the wage structure of the transfer budget. Which, no matter how you spin it, is a point in his favor.
He’s being touted as a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang replacement too, which if you consider that we could notch a £56m payday from selling Aubameyang, could mean another big uptick in available transfer funds, because we can use the near £70m accrued from selling Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan and replacing them with Willian on… all kinds of things.
Money is such a big part of the drama at this club—not knowing how much is available and for what purpose. It’s impossible to know what we do and don’t have available, but if we are truly limited this summer then Willian can help in more ways than one.
On to No. 2.