Barcelona could switch their attentions to Chelsea attacker Willian towards the end of the window if they fail to land their priority targets. They have been in the market for at least one attacker to replace Neymar. Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho and Angel di Maria have all been linked heavily to the Nou Camp.
However, France Football report that Los Cules are interested in Willian and are in touch with the player with the view to a transfer before the deadline. The Brazilian can play on either flank and his current status at Chelsea means that a move this summer could appeal to him. He isn’t a regular starter when everyone is available, with only 15 of his 34 appearances last season coming from the start.
During the 2015/16 season, he earned the club’s player of the year award and started to perform at a high level. It was surprising that he dropped down the pecking order under Antonio Conte, especially as he remained impressive when he did get on the pitch. Earlier in the window, he opened the door to a possible switch to Manchester United and he would likely entertain Barcelona if an offer was incoming.
What would he add to the Barcelona squad?
The La Liga club need to sign at least one more attacker if they are to challenge for major honours this season. It was a huge surprise that Neymar left and the lack of activity since shows that Barcelona weren’t expecting to lose him. Willian isn’t at the level of his compatriot, but he is an effective player and capable of making meaningful contributions at the highest level. The 29-year-old would certainly offer an upgrade on Gerard Deulofeu.
Willian is dynamic and looks to beat opposition defenders to create space in the final third. The combination of close ball control and pace mean that he is dangerous on the dribble. Last season, he averaged 2.96 chances created and 2.55 attempted shots per ninety minutes, showing the threat he poses in the final third. His decision making has improved a lot during the last 24 months, while his set piece ability is another reason he will appeal to Barcelona.
How likely is a move?
Barcelona are desperate for an attacker of good pedigree and that is open knowledge across football. It is causing the problems in the market as selling clubs are demanding huge fees for their targets. Willian won’t be an exciting signing, but he could be a good short-term purchase for the season to find a long-term replacement for Neymar.
Chelsea would be willing to sell him if an acceptable offer was forthcoming and he would be less costly than the players mentioned earlier in the article. That said, the Blues would want to buy a replacement before releasing the Brazilian. Time is becoming a huge problem for Barcelona in their search for attacking reinforcements and it will prevent a move for Willian unless they put the wheels in motion soon.