Photo via Arsenal
Arsenal has spent the last couple months locking up players in their squad for the future such as wingers Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka. Today, they finally added a quality player to their squad from another club: Chelsea winger Willian.
“I believe he’s a player that can really make a difference for us,” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said. “We have been monitoring him for the past few months, we had a clear intention to strengthen in the attacking midfielder and the winger positions, [and] he is a player that gives us a lot of versatility, he can play in three or four different positions.
Arsenal has faced harsh criticisms in recent weeks as they axed 55 jobs within their staff due to the financial repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Paying Willian this much money considering the circumstances is troubling.
However, Willian will be a fine addition to the squad. He is a winger who can score and create chances with his blazing speed. This season for Chelsea, he scored nine goals with four in their first five games during “Project Restart.” He is a great playmaker and a veteran presence Arsenal sorely needs.
This past season saw Arsenal transition into the Arteta era along with a flurry of youth having breakout seasons such as leftback Kieran Tierney, Saka and Martinelli. However, outside of captain striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the mainstays on the front line, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe, did not produce consistent results. Lacazette scored 10 goals but had many poor performances throughout the season and showed many flaws in his game. Pepe was Arsenal’s most expensive transfer ever as they bought him from Lille for 72 million euros. He disappointed with only five goals in the Premier League season. Willian’s presence and leadership should help develop Pepe into the player worth the exuberant price tag.
Arsenal has a bright future with Arteta at the helm and adding Willian further adds to the anticipation for the 2020-21 campaign. He brings leadership, pace and playmaking, traits Arsenal needed to compete for a Champions League berth.
The next step for Arsenal is to lock up Aubameyang and pursue Bayern Munich winger Philippe Coutinho.