Willian to hold talks with Arsenal after Chelsea's season ends

Mike McGrath
·2-min read
Liverpool v Chelsea - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - July 22, 2020 Chelsea's Willian during the match, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease - REUTERS/ LAURENCE GRIFFITHS
Liverpool v Chelsea - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - July 22, 2020 Chelsea's Willian during the match, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease - REUTERS/ LAURENCE GRIFFITHS

Arsenal will hold formal talks with Willian over a free transfer this month following the completion of Chelsea’s season.  

Frank Lampard’s team are 3-0 down in their Champions League tie against Bayern Munich and could be knocked out of the competition on Saturday, which will then see the Brazil forward make a final decision on his future. 

The Emirates Stadium is the likely destination for Willian, 31, as they are willing to offer a three-year deal as a free agent and no agreement has been made for him to remain at Stamford Bridge and extend his seven-year stay at the club he joined from Russia's  FC Anzhi Makhachkala in 2013. 

A large part of the appeal to Arsenal is Willian's experience, with the club looking to build a squad with a better balance of ages.

Arsenal have considerable faith in the many young players in their team but there is an acceptance that more senior figures are required if they are to fully develop as a side.

The recent signings of Pablo Mari, 26, and Cedric Soares, 28, have helped to address that balance of ages in the squad and Willian offers considerable trophy-winning experience. The Brazilian has been specifically requested by Arteta, who wants more options in the attacking third.

Willian is settled in London which is understood to be a factor in deciding his next contract. He rejected a three-year deal with Inter Miami in the MLS to stay in Europe. 

Miami, who are co-owned by David Beckham, wanted Willian to be the one of the faces of the franchise after launching in USA’s top division this year. 

Barcelona have been long-term admirers of the forward, while Bayern Munich considered him before moving for Manchester City forward Leroy Sane. But Arsenal are frontrunners at this stage for the ex-Shakhtar Donetsk and Anzhi Makhachkala player. 

Willian was a key players for Chelsea since the Premier League resumed in June, scoring four goals, but he missed the FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal at the weekend when he could have faced the team interested in signing him as a free agent. 

He has been able to discuss a pre-contract since January but his future is yet to be finalised. His profile is expected to command wages of more than £100,000-a-week to bolster Mikel Arteta’s attack. 

The Gunners reached the Europa League with their Wembley victory which boosts their chances of signing players this summer, with increased income for qualifying for a Uefa ucompetition.