Arsenal are in talks with Willian and his representatives over a potential move this summer with the Chelsea star set to become a free agent in the coming weeks. The Brazilian is out of contract at the end of the season and is considering his options ahead of next term.
Chelsea have already offered Willian a two-year extension but the winger turned it down, instead demanding a three-year contract.
Negotiations had stalled before lockdown but a breakthrough was reported yesterday, suggesting the 31-year-old could be set to prolong his stay at Stamford Bridge.
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However, it is now claimed that Premier League rivals Arsenal are in advanced talks with Willian and his agent over a potential switch across London.
Transfer expert Nicolo Schira reports that the Gunners are in discussion with Kia Joorabchian and are lining up an approach to sign Willian for free in the coming weeks.
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Jooorabchian has close ties to Arsenal, where he has his own box, and the 49-year-old has helped facilitate several transfers over the years – including David Luiz’s recent switch from blue to red.
Luiz is good friends with Willian, which could improve the chances of a deal taking place.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will not have a large amount of funds to spend this summer due to the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis, as well as Arsenal missing out on European football.
Signing Willian for free would therefore be seen as a major coup for the north London club, considering his excellent form this season.
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The winger, who has played a key role in Frank Lampard’s squad this season with 11 goals and nine assists from 47 appearances across all competitions, has previously stated his desire to remain at Stamford Bridge.
And the Chelsea manager has always been keen to keep hold of Willian, who has been one of the club’s most consistent performers in recent seasons.
Willan did recently commit to a short-term deal running until the end of the season, which has been extended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But with that contract now coming to its end, Chelsea must decide whether to stick to their guns and risk losing the ace or agree to his demands.
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Manchester United, Inter Miami and Tottenham have all been touted as other potential destinations for Willian, with the latter of particular interest due to the player’s relationship with Jose Mourinho.
The duo won the Premier League and the League Cup together at Chelsea and Willian has previously admitted the pair still text each other occasionally.
If Willian does stay with the Blues, he will find competition for places even more fierce next season with deals for Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner already secured.
Chelsea are now in negotiations over the signing of Kai Havertz while several other new arrivals can be expected before the end of the transfer window.
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