Arsenal should let go of their interest in Willian | Premier League 2019-20
- Arsenal should reconsider their interest in Willian. He is an exceptional player but is he really who the Gunners need?
Signing a player for free is always tempting. Especially for a club like Arsenal which is lagging in financial muscle at the best of times. So, signing a rival player for free is no less tempting, especially from a London club. Arsenal fans are bound to be excited at the opportunity of signing Willian Borges da Silva. Willian is known to be a nightmare to defend against when he is in full flow. So the deal would make sense for Arsenal, right? Well, there are plenty of factors to consider.
Firstly, what does this mean for the players at the club already?
Arsenal have a very rich supply of attackers, which nobody would have thought would be the case just five or so years ago. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Alexandre Lacazette, and Gabriel Martinelli make up their front-line options. A talent surplus is never a bad thing for the manager at a club. It is quite rewarding to have healthy competition, especially when it comes to goal scorers.
For the first time in a while, Arsenal also have plenty of its academy graduates who are first-team ready. Bukayo Saka is currently playing in the left-back position but his future seems to be as a winger, so he will want to claim Willian's spot. Similarly, Gabriel Martinelli has featured for Arsenal as a striker many times but his main traits signify that he should be playing out wide more frequently. The young Brazilian international has proved that he is worthy of a place in the starting XI for his creative input and his variety of goals.
Last but certainly not least, Reiss Nelson is currently composing his Arsenal comeback. Since his loan spell to 1899 Hoffenheim, he has not had the easiest of rides in terms of injury set-backs and hence losing his place in the side. However, Nelson has bags of potential.
Signing Willian would only hinder the progress of these three young players. It also seems like a waste of wages when these youngsters are wanting to make their way to the top and are showing all the right signs of doing so.
Another matter of consideration is whether or not Willian would actually fit into the Arsenal style and tactics under Mikel Arteta. The Spanish boss employs a wide attacking system, where the full-backs and wingers are central to providing balls into the path of the attackers.
Willian is a very attack-minded player so this could limit his input. Having an attacking full-back constantly overlapping could be something that doesn't work in his favour, as he prefers to be more direct and run at his opposing full-back, rather than being involved in link-up play.
One of the main reasons why Chelsea won't mind losing the Brazilian for free is his age. He is 31 and would be 32 by the time next season starts. Arsenal need to consider whether he is who they need going forward. Especially because, as before mentioned, there are many young players who are competing to play in this position.
It wouldn't be disastrous if Arsenal signed Willian, however, the Gunners should consider whether he is worth all the time, effort and, most importantly, wage resources, when there's plenty of talent at the Emirates already who offer the same skills as he does.
Published 14 Mar 2020, 18:37 IST