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Arsenal are poised to announce the signing of Willian following his departure from Chelsea this summer – which could spell good and bad news for a number of Gunners stars.
Willian called time on his seven-year stay with the Blues last week after turning down their offer of a new two-year deal, meaning he is available on a free transfer.
And reports suggest the Brazilian is set to remain in London by joining Arsenal, with Mikel Arteta keen to strengthen his squad ahead of the 2020/21 campaign.
So what could Willian’s impending arrival mean for Arteta’s current squad? Daily Star Sport have drawn up a list of Arsenal winners and losers should the deal go ahead as expected.
Should Arsenal’s star striker commit his future to the club, he could finally be deployed as a centre-forward to accommodate Willian out wide.
Aubameyang has often been used on the left-hand side by Arteta, with Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah selected at the pinpoint of his attack.
But with Nicolas Pepe’s place on the right cemented, and with Willian certain to be given the nod on the opposite flank, the Gabon international could be shifted to his more favoured position upfront.
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One man who will be delighted to see Willian walk through the Emirates front door is former Chelsea star Luiz.
The Brazilian defender spent a total of four years playing alongside his compatriot at Stamford Bridge, where they clinched the Premier League, FA Cup and Europa League together.
They will be hoping for more of the same in north London.
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Kieran Tierney/Hector Bellerin
While he may not have proved the most consistent of goalscorers at Chelsea, Willian rarely tired of tracking back in defence to help out his full-back – hence why Jose Mourinho loved him so much.
The 32-year-old is capable of operating on both the left and right flank, too, meaning Tierney and Bellerin can look forward to extra defensive protection on their side of the field.
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After only making seven starts for the Gunners last term, Willian’s arrival is not the greatest news for the 20-year-old academy graduate.
It will prove an even trickier task for him to get into Arteta’s side next season, although he is capable of playing as a No.10.
And playing alongside such a successful experienced pro could pay dividends…
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Saka proved a key player for Arteta in his first half-season as Arsenal manager, meaning he shouldn’t be sweating as much over his future as Nelson.
Nevertheless, the 18-year-old could find himself dropped to the bench in the big games next year to make room for the experience of Willian.
Kieran Tierney has also made the left-back spot his own, which rules out a return to that position.
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If Aubameyang is deployed as a centre-forward next season to accommodate Willian on the left flank, Lacazette will find starting opportunities hard to come by.
The French striker has been linked with a move away from Arsenal in recent weeks, with Juventus reportedly circling, and it would probably suit both parties if he departs.
- Arsenal FC
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