Various reports of late have suggested that Willian’s time at Arsenal will come to an end this summer, and that the Brazilian is seeking a move to pastures new.
There haven’t been many concrete links as yet, because it’s hard to know who a 32 year old on very big wages who has scored just one goal this season might attract, but overnight there are rumours of a move to MLS, with David Beckham’s Inter Miami a mooted destination.
Although he has made some assists, his move to the Gunners has to go down as one which hasn’t worked out as well as anyone would have expected. Despite concerns about the length of his deal, few expected it to go quite as badly as this so quickly.
With his great friend David Luiz also on the move, and his role in the team increasingly peripheral, it makes sense that he is looking elsewhere if he’s determined to play regularly in the final years of his career.
However, the two years he has left on his Arsenal contract, and the salary cap in MLS may prove to be a complication. Whether that means the club will have to incentivise his departure, as they did in January with Mesut Ozil, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis, remains to be seen – but if that is the case, it’s a mess of our own making and one from which lessons must be learned.
Just in case it needs repeating, the lesson is: Don’t sign old blokes from Chelsea who are coming towards the end of their careers.
Mikel Arteta was asked about the future of the former Shaktar Donetsk man at his press conference yesterday, and said, “First of all we signed a player with an incredible talent, a proven talent and performance level in this league, and this season has been difficult.
“I take full responsibility because I have to be the one getting the best out of him and we had moments but not to the level that he did before.
“This is an assessment that we will do individually with the players and with Edu, the board and the ownership to make the right decisions for the future.”
It’s clear the ‘right decision’ for everyone is for Willian to play his football somewhere else next season, so let’s hope they can make it happen.