Edu: Willian the start of a squad rebalancing exercise

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Technical Director Edu says the recruitment of Willian is part of a process to rebalance Arsenal’s squad and insists his Brazilian compatriot will make an instant impact.

The Gunners confirmed the recruitment of the 32-year-old free agent this morning with reports suggesting he’s signed a three-year deal.

The midfielder is expected to compete for a regular starting berth but it’s also hoped his experience will aid the development of the youngsters coming through the ranks.

“He has a lot of fantastic attributes as a person, as a football player of course, his character,” Edu told Arsenal Digital.

“I’m 100 per cent sure that everybody in the dressing room, the fans, myself and Mikel will enjoy having Willian in our side.

“We tried to create a better balance in the squad but we know that takes time to balance the squad the way me and Mikel [Arteta] want to. To balance properly, we need to sell players, to buy players and that takes time, not just day and night.

“It will take time but with Willian, we’ve started a big process. We’ve identified the needs in the squad and he’s the one to start to rebalance the squad as we want to.

“I am really excited and really happy to have a player like Willian because I’m convinced he’ll be the one to impact the team straight away. That, for me, is the most important one because I think the squad needed a player like Willian to help them, to be with the guys, helping in all senses. That’s why I’m so excited.”

In addition to Willian, Arsenal will also be able to call upon the services of centre-back William Saliba when the season gets going again in the coming weeks. It sounds as though we’re also in the market for another defender -possibly Lille’s Gabriel Magalhães – and at least one midfielder.

Much will depend on whether the club can move on current squad members. Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Alex Lacazette have all been tipped for moves and the days could be numbered for the likes of Sokratis and Calum Chambers. Mesut Ozil insisted yesterday that he will not be leaving for another year. 

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Twatsloch

“Edu: Willian the start of a squad rebalancing exercise…”

…and to line Kia’s pockets at Arsenal’s expense!

heihaci

except Arteta wanted Willian and Chelsea wanted to re-sign him

Godfrey Twatsloch

I want him too but I remain sceptical of the circumstances which he came to us. Not least his slimey agent schmoozing, wheeling and dealing with the people who run our club.

Thessaloniki

Chelsea wanted to re-sign him for less money and/or shorter contract.

Godfrey Twatsloch

Obviously. And there we are with a 250k a week cheque book and 55 newly sacked staff ready to make a three year commitment on a 32 year old player.

Qwaliteee

Oh well, that seals it. The title’s in the bag. ?

Scott P

I mean, there is a middle ground, sheesh. No one is expecting him to win us the title, but similarly just because he’s a KJ client doesn’t mean he’s going to ruin us. You can both expect him to improve us and also consider the circumstances in which he arrived with us.

Twatsloch

Most of us aren’t doubting that he’s a fine player and that he adds something to the team that we need. But for how long and at what cost? The three years plus the reported weekly pay seems risky and steep for a player of that age. Add to that this agent who has been selling us not exactly his finest stock. One of which received a year extension during a particularly poor spell this season. The whiff of backhanders, schmoozing, behind closed doors wheeling and dealing, secret handshakes and jobs for the boys is growing into a smell from… Read more »

Qwaliteee

Top post. There’s a lot of ‘re-balancing’ going on.

Just not quite what we as fans had in mind….

Brett

Only Arsenal fans would look at us signing an incredibly well-established player, in a real area of need, who offers great experience to a very young squad and who had offers from Chelsea and Barcelona, as a negative…

Willian has an agent. That agent now represents a whopping three players on our team. I think we are going to be okay…Or do you long for the time when our free signings were Lichsteiner and Sanogo?

Kinghenrythe14th

A lot of people are buying into the arseblog narrative and crying more than the bereaved.

Yes we sacked staff, yes Kia is an agent to some of our players. Every player and even managers have agents who represent them. I don’t get this constant whingeing about Kia “lining his pockets” at our expense. Show me a player on our books whose agent handles his negotiations for free. Let’s discuss the qualities a player is bringing to the team and stop with these snide remarks

Twatsloch

Show us any agent who sat and talked about the club as if he was one of the executives before Kia. The guy seems to be granted with way more access to the executive toilet than any non employee of the club should be.

60sguy

Agents should be paid by the players that they represent, not by the clubs. Simple as that. Verily we are a corrupt club now.

Brett

Completely agree. And if we hadn’t for some reason been so averse to dealing with agents in the past, maybe we could’ve been the team who signed Willian when he was in his mid-20s. It seems a lot of people on this site want to have their cake and eat it too…

Twatsloch

Funny you mention Lichsteiner. He was over the hill when he came to us at 34. He had a year contract and both parties were free to go their separate ways after that. No great harm done.

What if that happens to Willian while tied in a three year deal with us? I guess we’ll just pay up for the duration of his contract. We’ve had a few players like it so it’s not like we’re not used to it.

Happy days!

Brett

You’re right. I’d rather have someone like Emile Smith-Rowe starting for us, with his 2 goals for Huddersfield this season, than a Brazilian international, PL-winning, FA-Cup winning, Europa-league winning, two-time Chelsea player’s player of the year star, because he happens to have turned 32 last week…

Twatsloch

Where did I say anything about Emile Smith Rowe?

My issue with this William deal is what may happen to his form and potential for injury over a three year contract. Not what he has achieved this far.

But hey, by all means keep putting words in my mouth so I can waste my time some more.

Brett

Haha fair enough. Just meant if we didn’t take somewhat of a risk and sign someone like Willian, would imagine our homegrown options, such as ESR, would be the natural fill-ins.

If I had to choose between those two options, I choose Willian everytime – regardless of who his agent is.

Twatsloch

Like you I’m for having Willian on our team too. I only wish it wasn’t a three year deal due to his age. But that’s what we have now so fingers crossed he remains sharp for the duration.

Kinghenrythe14th

“My issue with this William deal is what may happen to his form and potential for injury over a three year contract. Not what he has achieved this far.” What a load of… So you can predict which players will get “Eduardoed” or become another Sanchez in a few years time? Wish I had such a crystal ball. Why don’t you become a super agent and sign up the next Messi, Ronaldo etc before they turn 14? We all sat here berating the signing of Luis while praying we put out Xhaka and Mustafi to pasture. I personally preferred an… Read more »

Twatsloch

Look up the meaning of the word’s “may” and “potential” before you accuse me of claiming I have the ability to see into the future.

Jack

So he was 2 years older than Willian, and Willian got a 2 year longer deal… let me do the maths here…

How can you think getting a really excellent and versatile attacking player until he’s 35 is bad, but getting a mediocre backup fullback until he’s 35 is good?! Would you have preferred to get Willian in two years?!

THINK, man

Con

If the rumoured £250,000 per week is true, we’re a stupid club, who never learn.

yen

From what I understand, his salary is around £100,000, but some journalist added up his sign on fee + some bonuses and recalculated it as a fee-per-week amount

Con

I get that, but it just strikes me as being remarkably similar to having Mkhitaryan on the books. I hope Willian can contribute more over the next few years. He’s certainly a good player at the moment.

Carlos Alberto Mendez

By the same calculation, Pepe is on 395k per week even before bonuses. That is, it’s a stupid calculation designed to make the club look bad.

Biggles

Not sure where you got that info. from but even if it’s true, it’s still a lot of money over a relatively long period for a 32 year old.

thw14

I think it’s fair to add a signing on fee to estimate the ‘cost’ of a free agent. At that price (and an optional fourth year apparently), we’d better be damn sure some Chinese club is willing to take him for the star value at age 34. I’m looking at you Cockup Joorabchian.

Diaminedave

So was that the same for Ozil?

Daveo

also rumoured £100,000, also rumoured £150,000.
You know what they are? Rumours.
Welcome Willian, we need players of his class!

Flash

You should take into consideration tha he was a free agent. We can easily save a lot more on his 0 transfer-fee than we spend his “extra” wages.

Johnny 4 Hats

How else could Kolasinac earn six figures a week?

Con

If it’s 250k per week, that’s an additional 23.5 million. So not very ‘free’!

Martin

Except it’s £100,000 a week. The figure has been inflated by the signing on fee and bonuses. Just the media making it look bad for Arsenal

karl

I wasn’t keen on this type of signing, but he’s an Arsenal player now and I’ll get behind it.

If he makes and impact and our form improves, all will be forgotten in an instant:-)

Con

Yeah I agree with that sentiment

Twatsloch

The question still remains why we have become a cash cow for an agent with a direct line to the guy who runs our club. Willian as a player and a person aside, that can’t be right.

The Kolkata Gooner

Yep, Willian I will support.

He’ll bring experience and flair, and as Arteta said, the ability to take responsibility in a difficult game. I really hope he will be great for us.

But he’s 32. Signing a 3-year deal, in a position where we already have an abundance of players. After a year, if his game drops, and he’s not playing regularly and earning around 150-200k a week, I will remember to blame Edu and Raul.

Bai Blagoi

I will support Willian and the rest of the team, but I will not support Don Raul and Edu in there incompetence.

Tobi6footplus

I think it is only fair to criticise the leadership when they mess up. However, my problem with my fellow gooners is that when they get excited at coups such as Martineli, Kiran Tierney , Danny Ceballos, they conveniently act like the Raul and Edu had nothing to do with it and the talents ended up at the Arsenal by some stroke of luck.

JBF

If you take a step back from the headline figures and think a bit about what this deal represents it seems entirely sensible. The Pros. We get a proven performer who will slot straight into the squad. He wont require any settling in time or adjustment to the Premier league. He has an excellent injury record and by all accounts is the consummate professional and a thoroughly nice bloke. He hast vast experience and can pass some of that onto our younger players. We have his services for 36 months, the first 12 we can expect a big contribution, second… Read more »

TommyGunz

If true, it sounds it yes. But for a start you don’t include bonuses in a monthly (weekly) salary, otherwise it’s just a higher salary.

Bonuses would surely include things like making it into the champions league, and hopefully some performance related like playing time or goals/assists. Fuck it, how about a Being-a-nice-guy-in-the-dressing-room bonus like I imagine Luiz is on too.

Viv

He is a player who performed really well in the just concluded season and has been continously doing well for 8 years in EPL…So have some faith….He is a player who has skills this team has been lacking and can contribute straight away…We need to return to Champions League next year itself…So he ticks the right boxes…

Matt

I’m convinced he’ll be the one to impact the team straight away”

You’d hope so!

ODB

Deep down, I have a feeling this would be a good signing.

Bai Blagoi

It should be veeery deep, under all the signs with “Another Özil” written on them.

Qwaliteee

I take it your comparison is based on the club pouring money down the drain. 350k a week for a player we refuse to use and another 250k a week for a tired old cart horse.

Vincent Ives

I don’t think we’ll be able to sell Chambers in this window due to his injury, but that’s a blessing in disguise. People seem to have forgotten he was our best player this season before his injury.

yen

Big Chambers fan over here. Really wanted him to get a proper run under Arteta, really unfortunate. Hopefully his time to shine is still to come!

Vincent Ives

I reckon he can do it, he’s definitely improved since Arteta was last at the club as a player. His loan at Fulham helped him massively, and if AMN does leave then Chambers could fill that ‘utility man’ role. I’m more worried about Holding’s future I think, I hope we have the patience to loan him somewhere for a season. I’m probably a bit biased as it’s so easy to romanticise the notion of a ‘no nonsense English centre back’.

Vaibhav Pandey

Arteta loves ball playing CBs and Rob unfortunately isn’t as good a ball playing CB. Mustafi is a lot better in that aspect and has improved a great deal. I would not be surprised if Rob would be sold in this window considering the number of CBs we have in the squad. I also think Chambers will make a move to Fulham sooner rather than later to link up with Scott Parker.

Twatsloch

This is true. He was actually looking pretty solid when injury struck its cruel blow. Would have been so great if he’d come through like Mustafi and Xhaka did.

Let’s hope he recovers well.

JBF

A low risk, instant impact signing. Seems sensible

Dave1977

Definitely, his underlying creative numbers have been great for years and we desperately need that, he’s also been Chelsea’s players player of the season which is a good sign re character and probably a reason Mikel is on board. I believe in the youngsters and this feels like a good fit for their development – I’d be more worried if we were signing a 27 year old blocker.

bob

I’d actually say it isn’t really low risk. If the figures reported are even close to correct, we will still have him in 3 years, at the age of 35 and on a very sizeable contract. It sort of seems like the club never learn..

That being said, I think he can contribute well, at least in the short term, as will not need to adjust to the league and will help our creativity!

Qwaliteee

Please tell me what is low risk about 250k a week for a three year contract on an average player in his 30’s….?

Martin

Why do you keep ignoring the fact that his salary is £100,000 a week? Why do you think that a player who has been outstanding for Chelsea is average?

IGtheshy

We are still paying champion league wages to a europa league team… That is the most concerning part for me.

Tommmy

Do you take Kia, to be thy lawfully wedded agent?
Eeeedu

Hail Gus!

For richer or (cough) poorer?

Qwaliteee

I now pronounce you cunt and cunt.

Dark Hei

If Kia could make us sign Willian, I am sure he can make someone buy Chambers.

Rebalance FTW!

Goldfingered

Bollocks. It’s a continuation on doing stupid deals in true Arsenal fashion.

Jack

Did any of you naysayers watch Willian the past couple of years? Have you checked his advanced stats (who am I kidding, of course you’re not interested in advanced stats)? He’s an excellent Champions League-level forward player, *for free*. His contract may be a liability in its final year. It might not, given his impeccable injury history and natural fitness, now that players are playing longer than ever. In any case, if we’re in the CL by then partly due to the influence of players such as Willian who make the team much, much better, I’ll call that a fair… Read more »

Granit(e) hard!

Well the squad does need a player with his skillset tbh, and willian is a top quality winger, seasoned and tested in the premiership and so should hit the ground running. The question is can he still deliver for 3 more seasons?…if we get him for even 2 seasons, it will be a good deal, he can be a super sub from the bench for the 3rd, plus help mentor our youngsters with similar skillset to maturity…..yeah, i knowl, ooking at glass as half full right?, well the deal is already done, only thing left is just hope for the… Read more »

Jack

It has taken 3-4 weeks for us to announce a free agent signing. I dread to think how long it will take to sign anyone else. October 12th maybe?

Leemillion

Uh, well he kinda had a contract with Chelsea?

Dave cee

Tbh the numbers do look a little concerning. I.m sure Chelsea must have offered him decent terms if they were serious about keeping him. However, he could be an important link player for us, and he is a very good set piece taker. Since Mesut slid into total mediocrity we have needed a player who can link the midfield and attack. I hope Willian can be that player. He may also be a very good tutor for the likes of ESR and others. His versatility could also be important. Fingers crossed it works out for us. Welcome to the Arsenal… Read more »

Alex

Putting into perspective: isn’t £250 000 per week what Auba is expecting Arsenal to pay him for his new contract after years of good services?
Another number: 55.

Man Manny

I think Willian will have an immediate impact on this team next season.
If he helps us get back into the CL at the end of the season, that should compensate adequately for the outlay.

Qwaliteee

Forget the Champions League.
Mid table at best.

AlexP

Where are you guys getting the 250k/week? Not seen this number in any ‘news’ outlet, highest mentioned was 150k/week and that was from the DAILY RAG, they are as reliable as PM can be trusted on putting together a sentence without 29 ahhhs and ooooooggghhss.

Willian will be great for us. For an arsenal blog that used to be so much more positive and actually in support of Arsenal, feels like quiet a few of you need to start buying Manchester City jerseys. Arsenal can’t seem to do anything right nowadays to satisfy the all knowing fans.

kaius

The Daily Mail, a paper that preys on people’s worst fears and distorts every story to fit an agenda.

Our fanbase are such easy marks

Qwaliteee

Another Kroenke apologist.

Well, with Mustafi and Luiz in defence and Willian in midfield, Liverpool and City will be quaking in their boots. Not.

Adiddledog

It’s not my money, WTF,!

Grymelock

Willian is announced and a free statement from Edu with purchase. Do you think he reads the blog?

Kanu Believe It

This is one of those transfer windows where I’m probably more interested in who we get rid of and for how much, over who comes in.

heihaci

arseblog been pushing the Kia agenda but ultimately Arteta was keen on Willian.

Biggles

So far the deal for William and the prospective one for Auba have pushed the (already too high) wage bill even higher – just at the time when club income is being slashed. Lots of speculation of course, but nobody has actually bought any of our players yet. Unless we can rebalance the finances we can’t rebalance the squad – unless Edu has a secret money tree.

Biggles

*Willian

Godfrey Twatsloch

We have Özil twiddling his thumbs on a reported 350k a week for another year. Add Willian’s reported 250k a week if he gets injured or his form drops. We have that for three years!!!

Why could we not have given him a year contract like Chelsea does with Giroud?

voster

As mentioned previously, the 250k includes signing on fees and other incentives.

With the rumoured signing on fee being £10m, that’s really £160k a week, but remember that this is a rumour and we don’t know if there are conditions attached.

Plus, the incentive payments only kick in if conditions are met, and usually that’s not true if he doesn’t play.

Not saying his signing would be problem-free, but don’t use these numbers as a comparison to Ozil.

Godfrey Twatsloch

No comparison with Özil except that the potential is there to have another expensive player like a millstone round our necks if things don’t pan out. It appears to me we are being played by the people who run our club and one of their mates who happens to be an agent with his hand in our pocket.

Noblegas

A 10 million sign on fee equals 160k per week? For a 3 year contract? I think that maths is seriously faulty.

Harri

Because Chelsea offered him a 2-year contract and he said no to that as he wanted longer. Can’t see him accepting a 1 year deal after that personally.

Godfrey Twatsloch

Well obviously they weren’t offering him the lucrative deal we were willing to table. Hence he’s here. The question is if we’ve been wise. I’m not sure we have.

Qwaliteee

This is all on Stan and The Stooges. I predict pitchforks by October.

Jesper van Hest

Lot of things going on at the club. Yes, we’ve thrown out some experienced scouts and yes Kia seems to have some influence on our strategy but in the end our scouting has been awful last decade and feel last window has been fairly positive with Tierney, Pepe, Martinelli, Ceballos and Saliba all good signings. Cedric and Mari still to be judged, Luiz didn’t work out and we overpaid for Pepe. Feel thats not a bad balance. I also am very sceptical about are agent strategy and feel we should focus on targeting younger players but before we judge I’d… Read more »

larry Gold

Ask yourself one question, The Arteta interview, was it a lie or the truth, did he have a gun put to his head? You see people Arteta is the manager, not you or me Arteta, who I feel deserves for us to stay with him and support him. I mean most of you hate Luiz, but MA played him “every game” es soon as his 3 game ban was up, he was back in the team, and played a major part in winning the Cup. And the Iconic Giroud scream, thanks to Luiz. So I say again, Arteta wanted him,… Read more »

Lizard

I agree. I think Arteta will be a brilliant manager given time. He hasn’t had the luxury of big money finance like Pep or Mourinho so it will take time and we’ll have to put up with some players that are needing experience and some that are not what they once were but he’ll get there in the end. For the record I think Willian is still very fit and a proper professioal with pride in his performance so whilst he might have some drop in his performance he will still be plenty good enough. BTW why does everybody think… Read more »

Ozenal

It will take far longer to balance of you are short on wages because you just paid millions in agents fees and committed 39m in wages on a player you won’t be able to move on as
– Free transfer ❌
– Paid transfer ❌
– Loan ❌ (since you will still have to subsidise his wages)

Has Edu also trying to treat us fans as idiots or has he genuinely believe this is a sort of balancing.

I’d love to listen in on a phone call between Mikel and Arsene right now.

voster

When we were linked to him earlier in the year, I was keen. He’s still creating and we’ve seen modern wingers still doing a job in their 30s (Robben, Ribery, Jesus Navas and your Ronaldos and Messis) and the fact that he’s had a good season means he takes care of himself enough and has enough natural fitness to pump out a decent season or two. The main concern would always be how much money we’ve paid for him vs. using the same money for another option. Considering that Willian brings with him a track record and a recent good… Read more »

The spoon

I think this is a good deal. Next season, we have a lot of games, in a compacted time frame, and we relied far to heavily on youngsters last season. Saka was excellent but he’s 18, and had too much in him, you could see towards the end he was tired and couldn’t produce the same as he had been. Our squad is thin, has been for some time, so having a serial winner, alongside these kids, worth every penny. Plus, even at his age, he’s fit and played more games than most of our players could muster. Let’s go… Read more »

Noblegas

So obviously, in the process of trying to make the club look bad, some people are somehow doing some voodo calculations and turning a £10 mill signing bonus into £150k per week for a 3 year contract?

Y’all need to go back to maths class!!

Tekkers

He’s very good at football and seems to be a real pro. Hopefully good for the dressing room as they rebuild. I always admired his play. Willian, Pepe and Aubamayang is an exciting prospect. I look forward to seeing how Arteta fits him in. Arteta improves players and changed his own playing style with age successfully moving from a more attacking midfielder to pulling the strings deeper from midfield. Perhaps he has something in mind for Willian both short and long term. I believe if anyone can make this work it’s Arteta.

Adiddledog

I don’t give a f*ck who pays who what, I just want great football!

Gunnerlocutor

Could be reading too much into it, but Edu called him “the one” to make an immediate impact, a couple of times. Makes me think he isn’t expecting to sign anyone else of his stature/cost this window.

Mark

Great to have him on board with no transfer fee, but we had better not think that a 32 year old is going to carry us for three years game in and game out.

assistantref

The bonus to Kia Joorabchian alone will amount to a year’s wages for the 55 members of staff we laid off, including completely gutting our scouting department. Willian’s salary over the course of this 3 year contract would pay for another 7 years of those salaries.

Doghouse

1st time in many years I feel positive we have a manager who has a plan to build a squad to challenge PL title in under 3 years, so what Willians age, time is now to do something not this dreamlike bollocks where all our academy players will go on to be superstars kissing our badge and never wanting to leave our club, get real.. believe it or not most of our title winning players were bought, having a ready made top class player even if for 2/3 seasons automatically makes us a better team already. In Miki I trust..

Santori

There is truth to this. We have been weak on the right for a while now. Arguably we were heavily left sided even when with Alexis. It was so obvious to defend against us. Pepe has come in with a great left foot and a number of goals/assist but his ball retention over 90 poor and his take ons largely unsuccessful (don’t believe the stats) plus off ball work (bar cup final) insipid. Add to lack of fullback/wingback option bc of injury to Bellerin on and off and its no wonder we struggled for efficiency. I imagine they do not… Read more »

Santori

Judging by what happen to Barca today, Coutinho may not be sold after all. He weighed in with an assist and goal to rub salt into the wound. I 8-2 say it but maybe we are on to something with the Brazilian. Perhaps he can come in left side to add equal ball retention to Willian and we can push Auba up top. My worry is Auba is not good competing for the ball or retaining it but maybe service can be more incisive and in to his feet better with these two on either flanks. In any case its… Read more »

Santori

Very wierd podcast… Don’t understand the logic (if any) of trying to sell our best Rback…since when is Cedric automatically better than Bellerin? And to keep AMN jack of all trades master of none over Bellerin? Having a laugh… Stop listening right there. If anything we could probably generate more funds from selling one of the two keepers particularly since United have a hard on for Oblak. Perhaps he (Leno or Martinez) can lend weight to swaying AM on Partey…but that said, the player also has a decision making voice and I believe (not suprisingly) at the moment, his preference… Read more »

Arsenalfanperson

Edu does seem to understand that we need to move people on and bring in more and that Willian won’t solve all our problems. I’m hopeful that the rebalancing he’s talking about will happen and benefit us in the long term.

martinhaze

Blogs mentioned that Arsenal have been down this road before of signing experienced players, and that it hasn’t worked out. I’d beg to differ. Mkhitaryan was never proven in the PL, Luiz was always known to be erratic, but Willian has actually been a highly successful PL player, winning the club’s player of the year award, and his powers haven’t waned just yet. Chelsea wanted to keep him. During Wenger’s time and Emery’s brief-lived era, I can’t remember many PL stars joining Arsenal. They always came from another league, or were promising players from English clubs. Fergie had no hesitation… Read more »

Dave

It’s funny because people always used to complain we didn’t get the top tier signings because we refused to work with ‘super agents’.

Now we work with them and people complain. You can’t please some people I suppose.