ARSENAL are inching closer towards signing Willian with the Chelsea star reportedly telling friends he wants to join the Gunners.
Arsenal have reportedly completed a deal to sign Chelsea star Willian when the Brazilian’s contract expires at the end of the season. The 31-year-old has agreed a three-year contract worth £100,000-a-week.
Willian is joining Arsenal on a three-year deal, according to reports.
The Chelsea winger is walking away from the club at the end of his contract and will join the North London club for a £100,000-a-week deal.
ESPN claim the transfer is imminent and he will follow David Luiz to the Emirates.
Is It Happening? The Noise
Chelsea were keen to keep hold of the winger but Frank Lampard could not convince his bosses to meet Willian’s demands.
The ex-Shakhtar Donetsk ace wanted a three-year deal but the Blues were only offering a two-year extension.
That allowed Mikel Arteta to swoop in and convince Willian that his future lies in north London.
Willian penned a short-term contract extension with Chelsea to see out the rest of the season.
Arsenal have beaten a host of clubs, including Barcelona and David Beckham’s new MLS franchise Inter Miami, to sign Willian.
Earlier this week Chelsea boss Frank Lampard explained how he hoped Willian would remain at Stamford Bridge.
But he also understands why the two-time Premier League winner may have to move on.
“I’ve got a great relationship with Willian. I actually don’t know what that decision is,” Lampard said.
If that happens over the next few days, as he said, that will be good to me in either way.
“Of course I’m very happy with Willian. He’s been brilliant with me this season with input and work ethic within the squad.
“But it is his choice and I respect his choice.
“He’s been a great servant for Chelsea if he decides to move on and if he does decide to move on, Chelsea obviously moves on as well. We have to look forward ourselves.”
The Race To Sign Hot-Prospect Willian
Last week Willian’s agent Kia Joorabchian revealed that two Premier League sides were chasing his client’s signature – with the other believed to be Everton.
“I don’t think he’s done a U-turn or any kind of turn,” he said. “He’s always been very much in the same mode.
“We had big offers – one from MLS which required him to move on July 1 – but he’s always wanted to finish the season at Chelsea and the day after the season has finished he would decide.
“He has two concrete offers from Premier League clubs on the table, an offer from an MLS club, and two other offers from Europe. He is going to make his decision after the last game of the season.”
Here’s What Perry Groves Thinks
The former Gunners midfielder believes Mikel Arteta should be looking to land an experienced winger who is about to hit free agency
Snapping up Willian if the Chelsea forward hits free agency is a “no-brainer” for Arsenal, says Perry Groves, with the Brazilian considered a better option in a wide role than club-record signing Nicolas Pepe.
The Gunners splashed out £72 million ($90m) on an Ivory Coast international forward during the summer of 2019.
Pepe did offer glimpses of what he is capable of, but a debut campaign in English football proved testing for a man who ended up with just eight goals and 10 assists to his name.
Having invested so much faith and funds in the 25-year-old, Arsenal can be expected to persist with a big-money buy.
They are, however, exploring their options when it comes to bringing in even more firepower.
It could be that a proven Premier League performer can be lured across London from Stamford Bridge, with Willian approaching the end of his contract at Chelsea.
Groves believes Mikel Arteta should be in the market for the experienced South American, as he could be an upgrade on Pepe and still has plenty left in the tank despite being 31 years of age.
“It’s a no-brainer, an absolute no-brainer,” Groves told talkSPORT on Arsenal’s pursuit of Willian.
Pepe Vs Willian?
You say he’s 31, in our day you were probably coming to the end of your career at 30, 31 as an outfield player.
“Now, because they look after themselves, he’ll be playing until he’s 33 or 34.
“And if you look at his injury record, over the last seven years he’s averaged 33 or 34 games a season, so he’s not injury prone, he’s consistent, he’s got a winning mentality, he will buy into the way that Arteta wants to play, his attitude is good, he plays in the Premier League, so the risk is low and reward is very, very high.
“Is he better than what Arsenal have got at the moment? I’d say yes. He’s experienced.
“Yeah [Willian is better than Pepe]. Yes [Pepe has got great potential] but he’s not on Willian’s level of consistently delivering, he’s had his best goalscoring year.
“Willian would make Arsenal a stronger team, it’s a no-brainer.”
Groves also believes that the Gunners need to be paying club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang whatever he wants in order to sign a new contract, with the Gabonese striker having entered the final 12 months of his current terms.