5 potential replacements for Willian at Chelsea
Willian Borges da Silva has been at Chelsea for the best part of 6 seasons and has been good for the Blues. He has been a part of two Premier League title-winning teams and has been good whenever he has been called upon.
One of the few shining lights for the club during the last bad days of the Jose Mourinho era, the Brazilian winger has appeared 248 times for the Blues scoring 46 goals and making 42 assists.
However, the 30-year-old's powers have been on the wane in recent seasons. He has struggled in Maurizio Sarri's system where the emphasis is on playing the ball forward with quick passing and intelligent movement.
Willian's dithering on the ball and his poor decision making has made him a bad fit for Sarri's preferred style a.k.a Sarri-ball. With the January transfer window approaching, Chelsea might want to go into the market and get a better, more-fitting replacement.
Here is a look at 5 possible replacements for Willian Chelsea might look to sign in the winter transfer window:
#5 Gelson Martins (Atletico Madrid)
The latest product in a long line of exceptional Portuguese wingers, the 22-year-old Cape Verde-born winger has not had the best start to life in Madrid.
Diego Simeone is notorious for choosing to slowly integrate new players, hence Martins has not had the start many were expecting. A speedy and inventive wide player who is able to be effective on both flanks, he excels more on the right (Willian's current position).
Similar to Ricardo Quaresma, the former Sporting Lisbon player has the skill and speed to beat defenders and get into space. While he is not the strongest winger in terms of strength, his love for hogging the ball helps him retain possession more often than not.
He is very much a classic style winger, his ability to stay wide and stretch the game could be brilliant for Chelsea especially when playing against massed defences.
He has a lot to improve on in terms of decision making, goals and assists. In Martins, Sarri would be getting a player similar to what he had with Jose Callejon at Napoli. The Italian really worked on Callejon during their time together and helped the former Real Madrid winger to become a better player/goalscorer. The same could happen with the Portuguese international.
It is unclear how much Atleti might ask for the player given that he just joined (on a free transfer). However, he could be a superb long-term replacement for Willian.