Arsenal remain in pole position to secure the signing of Chelsea winger, Willian, who is not keen on a two-year contract extension offered by the west London giants.
Although Barcelona and Inter Miami have shown interest in getting the service of the Chelsea attacker, Arsenal are reportedly closing in to complete the signing of Willian on a three-year deal.
Willian, who turns 32 on Sunday, has been a great servant of Chelsea since his arrival from Russian outfit, Anzhi Makhachkala back in 2013. The Brazilian international has already appeared in more than 300 matches for the Premier League giants, scoring 63 goals in the process.
This season too, he has been an integral part of the Chelsea set up. The gifted winger has been one of the most trusted troops of Frank Lampard throughout the 2019-20 campaign, appearing in 47 occasions across all competitions.
The Blues are keen to keep hold of Willian but are only prepared to offer him a two-year deal, while the player is holding out for an additional year.
With Willian heavily tipped to join Arsenal, who are ready with a three-year contract, we take a close look at how the Gunners might line up with the Brazilian in their ranks.
#1 Willian as a left-winger in a 3-4-3 set up:
Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta can deploy Willian in his favoured left-winger’s role with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who happens to be very close to signing a new deal with the Gunners, leading the line, and the club’s record signing, Nicolas Pepe on the right-wing.
The 3-4-3 formation has been Mikel Arteta’s favourite set up since his arrival in north London, and he can certainly make the most out of Willian’s capabilities by offering him his preferred position.
This would definitely help the Brazilian to get used to a new environment, given his familiarity with the role. Besides, the soon-to-be 32-year-old’s quick feet and ability to dribble past defenders with ease will undoubtedly make Arsenal’s attacking set up much more formidable.
So, with Willian and Pepe on both wings and Aubameyang up top, Arsenal could boast a ferocious attacking third.
#2 Willian as a number 10 in a 4-2-3-1 line up:
Willian can also be given the responsibility of a proper number 10 with either Bukayo Saka or Alexandre Lacazette taking the left winger’s role. The technically-gifted winger has all the attributes to thrive in a free role in the middle from where he can dictate the flow of the game.
The Brazilian’s vision and creativity will not only enable him to link up with the defensive midfielders but also maintain the supply line to the forwards. Willian, with his typical Brazilian style, has the ability to pick a pass and pull off feints or tricks to create space in crowded areas.
This very formation would help Mikel Arteta to strike the necessary balance between the attack and the defence. Moreover, the defensive screening of Dani Ceballos, who is open to returning to the Emirates next season, and Lucas Torreira will make Arsenal’s defence much more compact and flawless.
And if needed, Willian can also do a job defensively and fill the void when required.
To sum it up, the 4-2-3-1 system, with Willian playing in the hole, looks like a great set up on paper as Arteta is still in search of finding the proper balance to bring the best out of his available troops.
#3 Willian as a right-sided winger in a 4-2-3-1 formation:
This formation would present Willian a great amount of familiarity as he has often been used in this role while playing for Chelsea, with Eden Hazard occupying the left winger’s role.
With Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang constantly interchanging their roles, Willian can provide the necessity width by making runs on the right side of the field.
It will surely help the Gunners to stretch the field a little bit more as they often looked narrow against well-drilled defensive units last season.
In addition, this very formation would provide Mikel Arteta with the opportunity of deploying three out-and-out midfielders in the middle of the park with Dani Ceballos given a free role to roam.
Given his hard-working and workaholic nature, Willian will also offer the much-needed covering on the right side of the field, which Nicolas Pepe has failed to provide, as Hector Bellerin often likes to venture forward.