Willian Borges da Silva has signed a three-year deal at Arsenal after leaving Chelsea earlier this month. Willian’s arrival represents the first signing of the window for head coach Mikel Arteta who experiences his first full season as manager of Arsenal next season. Arteta led Arsenal to FA Cup final glory against Chelsea at the end of the domestic season and will be seeking an improvement on their eight-place finish in the Premier League last season. Arsenal has bolstered their attacking options, and the arrival of Willian is a coup for Arteta and his Arsenal. The Brazilian arrives at the club after having one of his best seasons in the just ended Premier League campaign. Willian scored nine times and assisted seven. It clearly shows he is still at the peak of his powers, and the move looks to be a shrewd acquisition for Arsenal. Willian made 339 competitive appearances in seven years for Chelsea following his move from Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala in August 2013.
During his 7-year spell at Chelsea, Willian scored 63 goals and assisted 62 in all competitions, winning two Premier League titles, one FA Cup, a Europa League trophy, and an EFL Cup. During his time at Chelsea, he consistently demonstrated how talented he is. His move to Arsenal has seen him become the third Chelsea player to move to the North London giants in the last five years, following ex-teammate Petr Cech and David Luiz’s recent departures.
What he brings to Arsenal
Willian is a quality signing who will improve Arsenal’s squad, which is something that Arteta’s side needs. Despite his age, Willian is still quick and would add something different to the Arsenal attacking department. In the 2019-20 season, Willian finished in seventh place for the most chances created in the Premier League, with 76 chances created. In comparison to the other Arsenal attackers, none of them comes close to matching Willian’s stats for chances created. Willian will add a lot of creativity to Arsenal’s frontline and has demonstrated this trait consistently.
Willian can also operate in a variety of different attacking positions. His two-footed prowess allowed him to feature on both wings for Chelsea as well as in central attacking midfield positions. He would fit into Arteta’s line-up, given his adaptability to several positions and formations. In the big games, Arteta usually prefers the counter-attacking system, and Willian can fit in that system. He can also make intelligent runs behind the opposition’s defense as well as find pockets of space to pick out teammates on the break. If Arteta wishes to use him in the 4-2-3-1 formation against teams that sits back and defend, Willian will be more than able to perform in any role behind the frontman.
The Brazilian winger also loves to run with the ball between the lines and link-up play with an attacker or have an effort on goal for himself. He also fits into Arteta’s hard-working, high-intensity setup. Willian also loves tracking back to help either the right-back or left-back when his team’s defense is under attack. Willian’s experience of playing in the Premier League for a long time would come in handy for a squad with the youngsters at the club. For players like Bukayo Saka, Reiss Nelson, Gabriel Martinelli, and others coming through the academy, having an experienced player like Willian in the team could provide some guidance for them both on and off the pitch. With Arsenal qualifying for the Europa League, Willian’s European tournament experience in Ukraine, Russia, and Chelsea will come to bear. He also provides the experience needed for Arsenal to challenge the top four and win European glory.
A section of the Arsenal fans is delighted about this move because Willian possesses a lot of fantastic attributes in football. He can help them return to their former glory days. However, others are of the view that even though Willian has a lot of miles in his legs, the club should have prioritized on a long term fix than a short term fix. They are trying to understand Arsenal’s intentions around this deal and figure out whether Willian will occupy the right side of the attack where their record signing Pepe usually operates from, or if he is going to replace Mesut Ozil at the number 10 role. There are many questions around this move, but on top of this, Willian has the winning mentality, and he could be the final piece in Arteta’s puzzle.