Arsenal have been urged to make a move for Chelsea midfielder Willian by Gunners cult hero Kevin Campbell, in conversation with Metro.
Mikel Arteta’s charges are believed to be one of the sides interested in the Brazilian’s signature, with his Stamford Bridge contract expiring this summer.
However, the Gunners’ bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur are also said to be interested in the midfielder, according to Metro.
Willian has plied his trade for the West Londoners since 2013, when he joined from Anzhi Makhachkala in a reported £30million move (BBC Sport).
The 31-year-old has made upwards of 300 appearances for Chelsea in which he claimed 59 goals and 59 assists, according to Transfermarkt.
However, Willian’s days at Chelsea seem to be numbered after previously telling Fox Sports show Expediente Futbol that contract talks with the Blues had petered out.
The £120,000-a-week ace wants a two or three-year deal at Stamford Bridge but the Blues are seemingly only willing to hand him a rolling 12-month extension.
ESPN journalist Jorge Nicola (Youtube) has claimed that Willian’s representatives believe the Gunners are the most viable destination for the winger this summer.
“There’s talk of Willian, I like Willian, there’s still a lot of life left in him,” Campbell told Metro. “He actually suits what Mikel Arteta wants to do, playing in a three, he’s got pace, he can beat people, he can score goals and we could get him on a free, and he’s experienced.
“It ticks all the boxes, but I know some Arsenal fans saying, ‘We don’t want Chelsea’s cast-offs’, but he’s not a cast-off. The problem with Chelsea is they’ve got young players coming through who need to play, who know now is the time where Lampard’s come in with Jody Morris, it’s the transition where they have to play them now.
“Whereas Willian is 31, still got life in him, he’s a similar age to Aubameyang, no one is saying Aubameyang is over the hill, so how can Willian be over the hill? It doesn’t make sense. If we haven’t got the money to spend in the transfer market, let’s get these guys on free, get them motivated and get them playing.
“That’s what Mikel Arteta’s got to do, and he realises if he hasn’t got the war chest then he’s going to have to move smart.”
The Willian saga involving Arsenal and Spurs is showing no signs of slowing down, with different sources reporting different things – some are tipping him for the Emirates Stadium, others for the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
That said, the Brazilian is an incredibly talented player, fast, agile, hard-working and technically gifted, with a track record of pulling off exciting feints and tricks to the point that pundits were questioning whether he, and not Eden Hazard, was Chelsea’s most skilful player of the two.
To get such a talent on a free transfer would be quite a coup for Arsenal – or indeed Spurs – and even though he’s 31, he looks to have plenty of top-level years in him yet.