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What Willian Brings to Arsenal Football Club

Report: Arsenal offer Willian three-year deal to sign on free transfer

This morning, Arsenal announced the signing of former Chelsea attacker, Willian Borges da Silva, on the three-year deal for free of course. I shared my thoughts about Willian in a previous post but I will like to focus on the attributes the Brazilian sensation brings to Arsenal football club. 

Little or No Adaptation Period

Those that saw the exploits of Nicolas Pepe last season can attest to the fact that adaptation is critical for any footballer joining a new club, as challenges such as learning the language, adapting to change in tactical management among others take center stage. Arsenal will face no such issues with with Willian as he spent seven years in London with the Gunners rivals, Chelsea, excelling admirably in the West London outfit. This means that Arsenal fans can expect Willian to hit the ground running from the get-go with the new campaign resuming in just 28 days.

Well Publicized Versatility

Every football manager hopes to have a player or two that can feature in several positions to allow him make tactical changes before and during matches. Arsenal is in luck as Willian is such a player that is adept in the left and right wings as well as the attacking central midfield position. The player himself declared that he is available to compete in any position with the sole aim of helping the team excel,

“I come to help in every position. I can play on the right, I can play in the middle, I can play on the left side as well. So I want to help – in any position where they put me to play, I will try to do my best.”

Excellent Injury Record

In a career that spanned for 14 years, Willian has made 618 appearances and scored 103 goals. In his seven years at Chelsea, the lowest amount of appearances Willian made was 41, and he made 34 league appearances in that campaign. If you check his injury history at transfermarkt, you will see that Willian was injured just three times in his entire career, so Arsenal will be assured that they have a player that will feature consistently for them in the coming seasons.

Dead Ball Specialist

Every team needs that player with a proven track record of set piece taking as it offers another perspective in a teams quest for goals. Last season, Arsenal scored a handful of free kicks with the most notable being Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal against Aston Villa and Pepe’s double salvo against Victoria Guimaraes. However, Willian is a seasoned dead ball professional and will certainly earn the trust of his teammates to take a dead ball when the chance arrives in a favorable position. He’s also adept in taking corner kicks and swinging in dead balls from deep lying positions which will be an important asset for Arsenal in the forthcoming season.

Trophy Winning Experience

Willian enjoyed a distinguished football career winning six league titles (four at Shakhtar Donetsk and two at Chelsea), seven domestic cups (five in Ukraine and two in England) as well as two Europa League titles with Shakhtar and Chelsea. On the international scene, has won the 2007 Youth Championships with Brazil U-20s and the 2019 Copa America, so its fair to say that he has won his fair share of trophies. This will help with his mentality, and he has stated his intentions to carry it into this stint with Arsenal.

Much Needed Creativity

Whether he is cutting in from the flanks or making his short bursts past his opponents, Arsenal can count on Willian to provide that much needed creativity lacking in the side in recent campaigns. Mesut Ozil is the player tasked with that responsibility but he has not been featuring on the side. Sky Sports did an analysis on Willian’s creative numbers last season and it was very impressive to say the least. He created 76 chances, completed 51 crosses, notched up seven assists and scored nine goals. The likes of Aubameyang, Eddie Nketiah and Alexandre Lacazette will lick their lips at the prospect of working with such a creative player in the club’s ranks. 

Attacking Output

Willian’s entire career has seen him score 103 goals in 618 games. 63 of those goals appeared in Chelsea colors from 339 appearances. In his last five seasons with Chelsea, Willian scored 11, 8, 13, 12 and 11 goals respectively in all competitions, which are very decent numbers from an attacking midfielder. Arsenal will be expecting the same from him and we expect him to deliver.


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Willian-In or Willian-Out?

Report: Arsenal offer Willian three-year deal to sign on free transfer

So its now public knowledge that Chelsea’s Brazilian maestro, Willian, is leaving the club after over 300 appearances in seven seasons with the Blues. He also managed to amass some silverware with the London-based outfit, winning two Premier League titles, one FA Cup and last season’s Europa League following their victory against yours truly in Baku.

At 32, you would expect that his last major contract would be in some retirement league, but all indications show that Willian is about to join Arsenal on a three-year deal, which is going to bring up some mixed emotions among the Arsenal faithful.

Many would look at the talent coming into the Chelsea team and see why there’s no more room for a talented individual like Willian in their side, but in all honesty, I believe that he will be a welcome addition to Arsenal and I will share my reasons. Firstly, Willian will give us some much needed depth and quality in attack as last season showed that we were heavily reliant on our dependable captain for the goods, and even though he always delivered, the supporting pack should have done better. Willian is the kind of guy that averages 10 – 15 goals per season from midfield, and that’s a big plus in my books. Another exciting reason for having Willian in our ranks is the fact that he can cut in from the left hand side of our attack, allowing Aubameyang to play through the middle. He’s also versatile enough to play on the right or in the attacking midfield slot. That’s the kind of versatility that modern day coaches dream about.

We also have to consider the fact that he’s an experienced individual that has seen it all, so it can only rub off on the younger wingers in the squad like Bukayo Saka, Reiss Nelson and Nicolas Pepe. Having a figurehead like Willian in the dressing room can only aid their development even further.

Then there’s the financial implication of the transfer – Willian will not cost the club any transfer fees if he joins the club. It will just be the issue of his salary that can certainly be sorted out with mininal fuss. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected lives and businesses adversely, with Arsenal even confirming that they are going to lay off 55 employees, getting a talented and experienced footballer for free serves as a good business decision.

Well, its all speculation till we get the official communication but I’m certainly a staunch member of the Willian-In brigade.