Arsenal moved into pole position to sign the Brazil international, whose Chelsea deal expires later this month, by offering a three-year contract earlier this week, and are on the verge of beating off competition from Barcelona and Inter Miami.Along with the length of the deal, joining Mikel Arteta’s rejuvenated side and the chance to work with fellow Brazilian Edu are the reasons Arsenal are favourites to secure Willian’s signature.
Despite wanting Willian, who turns 32 on Sunday, to extend his stay at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea have refused to offer more than a further two years – and the chances of him being a Chelsea player when the new season begins in five weeks look remote.
Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard insists he will have no hard feelings if Willian leaves the club.It actually doesn’t matter about disappointment from any party in this situation,” said Lampard, ahead of Chelsea’s Champions League tie against Bayern Munich on Saturday.I haven’t got an answer for you (if Willian will leave) first and foremost, because Willian remains our player at the moment.
“In terms of being disappointed, certainly as a club I think we have done everything we can to explain to Willian, and mine and his relationship is really close.”Lampard has admitted his side need to improve defensively, but that Chelsea would need to sell before they can buy, having already spent big in the attacking areas by bringing in Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.
Willian made 47 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions and finished the season in fine form, with four Premier League goals after the restart taking his tally for the season to nine,”Willian wants one big final contract – ideally a three-year deal to take him to 35. Chelsea would like to keep him, though they’re not going to offer him three years.At the moment, it looks like Arsenal is his most likely destination but he is a free agent and at his age, realistically, you’re likely to go where there is the most money and longest contract on offer.He’s got a great injury record so his agent will be saying, ‘Don’t worry about his fitness’.”