Willian to Arsenal? Good player, but another elderly Chelsea hand me down! No thanks

Signing Willian highlight's Arsenal's dangerous short-term ...

Chatting with soon to be new teammates?

A few stories have featured prominently in our post-Wembley glories this week.

One of them is our FA Cup final opponent Willian, who according to reports is looking to move to Arsenal from Chelsea.

Willian has been underrated in some respects. He was a mainstay of their 2015 and 2017 title-winning sides, though not as prolific as Diego Costa or Eden Hazard.

He is a good player – he is hard-working, technical and offers a lot of terms of play development and chance creation. His scoring stats are not the best, though many Chelsea fans respect him and his contributions at the club.

To compare Willian to Pepe, Willian had 19 goals and assists in 19/20 whilst Pepe had 16. So there’s not much difference between the two in this regard.

However, whilst Willian to Arsenal looks strong, there are reasons why I don’t think it’s sound:


  • We’re THE Arsenal – not a Chelsea dumping ground


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An ex-Chelsea man who hasn’t been stellar.

I don’t care if Chelsea has a European Cup and we don’t – we’re a bigger club. We have more fans, more trophies, and a more developed global brand. Chelsea is known worldwide for its success – but our global brand is based on success via style.

With Cech, Luiz, and perhaps soon Willian, getting their older players doesn’t seem a good look.

Is there a reason why we should get their hand me downs?

The rationale for Cech, Luiz, and Willian was all about the experience – Cech was hit and miss. He had a very good first season where he won the Golden Glove.

But his second, third, and fourth seasons were erratic. Luiz – well bar a few prominent good performances has been weak.

Willian may turn out to be good but for me, it’s a matter of principle – we’re too big to get Chelsea’s castoffs.


  • Not a necessity


skysports-fa-cup-pepe-nicolas 5024843

Pepe was welcome but not a necessity. Is Willian the same?


We have several players who can function in the wide forward berth. Auba, Pepe, Saka, Gabi, and Nelson all fit here.

With Willian in, and assuming Auba stays, this means he would compete with Pepe.

Assuming further that Laca stays also, then where does he fit in? Dropping Pepe is unwise, as he needs time to prove himself fully.

Moreover, Saka’s time could be stunted as he’s shown he can be a star. The same is true of Martinelli.

So where would he fit in, exactly? A CB and CM/DM are priorities, and this leads on to the next point…


  • Arse-backwards transfer dealings


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Sanhelli et al need to get transfers right

Many, even non-Gooners, thought that last summer we “won” the transfer window. Of the big six, we did have the most impressive window. Liverpool didn’t need to strengthen heavily, and Spurs didn’t build on Ndombele and Lo Celso., Chelsea were banned from getting players, and City didn’t replace Kompany fully. Man United got Wan-Bissaka and Maguire, though didn’t replace Lukaku.

We did, on the surface, address all key areas, with Luiz, Pepe, Ceballos, Martinelli, and Tierney.

But then whilst Pepe was welcome, he wasn’t a necessity. We really needed, as now, a good CB and CM/DM.

Even with Sanhelli and his contacts, we’re still doing transfers in an oddly Wenger-esque or Gazidis-esque manner. And this isn’t to knock Wenger at all – but it’s truth that baffling transfer decisions didn’t endear him to fans at the end of his tenure.

This Willian deal strikes to me as very Arsenal-like, given how we’ve operated in recent years.

I may be being premature – and if we can get in a CB/DM, I’d be happy to say views are wrong. Though we seldom ever do things correctly in recent seasons, and if our limited funds are spent on Willian, then what scope is there for Partey, or per recent reports Gabriel (no, not Paulista…..)

In a way, it’s like a “boy who cried wolf”. I’ve seen this many times before, and need assurance that the same won’t result again.


I accept fully that Willian is a good player, but then we can do more.

Nathan Ake would have been a good shout – even though he’s now a City player I feel he could have added something as a PL-experienced defender.

I expect Willian to be done – though not without reservations on my part.




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6 Responses to Willian to Arsenal? Good player, but another elderly Chelsea hand me down! No thanks

  1. Chris August 6, 2020 at 2:17 pm #

    He’s an experienced, PL proven, top class international, available on a free, for very reasonable wages. The fact that he comes from Chelsea is irrelevant, except that perhaps it’s a bonus, since he likely acceded to less wages due to not having to move house, and of course, his loss weakens them. His cheap acquisition allows funds to be spent elsewhere, where they are still needed. When Mikhi leaves, Willian will prove a more than adequate replacement, on significantly less money.

    • Reg August 6, 2020 at 3:19 pm #

      Yes Arsenal, may well be the bigger club than Chelsea with more total trophies at the moment, tradition etc. However the simple situation is 1 your team does need experience over the 38 games. 2. you do not have a lot of money these days, your owner just sacked 55 employees even though over the last 3 windows, Arsenal have been the third highest spenders, with out the real quality apart from your striker and pepe. Let’s face it to be successful in this sport these days you need money.
      Plus at least our owner puts his hand in his pocket and spends, just imagine what you would be saying if our owner had bought Spurs instead of Chelsea.!!!
      So Arsenal are getting a great player, yes he is a little old but a good player. Chelsea offered him 2 years, Arsenal offered 3 years on similiar money to what he is on at Chelsea. Arsenal may have done Chelsea the biggest favour in beating them in the FA cup because its seems like they are showing the whole team barring a few players the front door.. I am sure Willian will be a good servant for you and anyway he is cheaper than Ozil and will put in more effort.

      • Dave Seager August 6, 2020 at 6:28 pm #

        Agree entirely

    • Dave Seager August 6, 2020 at 6:28 pm #

      Agree.No arguments here.

  2. Mike August 6, 2020 at 3:44 pm #

    Whilst I don’t disagree that we have greater needs elsewhere, much of the argument against signing him is flawed. In particular the Chelsea connection. The difference here is that they don’t want to lose him.

  3. Wishawk August 6, 2020 at 11:33 pm #

    I believe one of the areas identified for improvement was lacking creative force. No one came close to Ozil in the midfield. And no one demonstrated being able to dribble and break down tight defense in the final third. Even though Willian played mostly on the right wing, he can be a attacking mid too. Given we have many young players in the squad, we can use his experience and skills. In a year or two, maybe Joe Willock or ESR will be ready to take over. And I’m also hoping Martinelli will replace Auba in one or two years.

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