After almost seven years, two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, a League Cup and a Europa League triumph, Willian’s time as a Chelsea player appears to be almost at an end.
The Brazil international’s contract expires at the end of June and while he may agree a new short-term deal in order to conclude the 2019/20 campaign, it is almost certain he’ll be at a new club come the start of next season.
He may not be, though, in a new city. Willian and his family are settled in London and he openly stated in February he preferred to remain in the English capital if possible.
Writing in the Players’ Tribute, he explained: “If you ask my wife if she wants to leave London, she’ll say no. My daughters feel the same way.
“Of course, Brazil is Brazil, right? It’s our home, our culture. We always feel good when we go there on holiday and see family and friends, but London is my second home.”
He added: “So London is where I want to stay. This is where I have my family, my church. I want my daughters to grow up here.”
Willian may get his wish, too. According to the Telegraph, Arsenal and Tottenham are both prepared to offer the 31-year-old a contract this summer. Although they would face competition from German giants Bayern Munich.
Arsenal will feel they hold an advantage in luring the Brazilian across London as the winger’s representative Kia Joorabchian is a Gunners fan and has increasingly influence at the Emirates Stadium.
But Tottenham’s wildcard is Jose Mourinho. The Portuguese coached Willian at Chelsea and the Brazil international has previously admitted he would like to again work under the Spurs boss.
Perhaps the more pertinent issue, however, is game time. Willian is approaching the twilight of his career. He will want to play in his final years, not simply sit on the bench.
So which club needs him more and who can offer more regular football, Arsenal or Spurs?
The Gunners have a wealth of attacking options – Alexandre Lacazette, Nicolas Pepe, Gabriel Martinelli and Mesut Ozil to name four – but a space is likely to open up in their squad this summer.
Arsenal are expected to sell club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang come the end of the season rather than lose him for nothing in a little over 12 months time.
The Gabon international has predominantly played off the left flank under Arteta and it’s a position Willian could step into with ease – he has featured seven times there for Chelsea this season.
One problem is, though, that Willian’s arrival could block the pathway of 18-year-old Martinelli, who has impressed this season under both Unai Emery and Arteta following his arrival last summer from Ituano.
Spurs, meanwhile, are well stocked when their attacking players are all fit. Son Heung-min, January recruit Steven Bergwijn, Lucas Moura and Erik Lamela can all be deployed as wingers while Dele Alli and Ryan Sessegnon can deputise if required.
Mourinho has used several different systems since succeeding Mauricio Pochettino but he has favoured 4-2-3-1 during his recent spells at Chelsea and Manchester United.