Willian is set to leave Arsenal on a free transfer and will become a Corinthians player in the next 48 hours after terminating his Arsenal contract, football.london understands.
Mikel Arteta was full of praise for the Brazilian when he signed and wouldn’t have imagined that Willian would be leaving for nothing just a year later.
Speaking to Arsenal.com, the Gunners boss was excited about the signing of Willian and said “It is the character that I want, the kind of player that when things get difficult in the game that wants to take responsibility.”
Whilst the Spaniard announced his intentions for Willian to be an important player for the squad, the feelings were not echoed by the fans.
Not only was it a shock that the former Chelsea man was joining from a club rival, but discontent was caused when the details of the deal revealed that Arsenal had offered a 32-year-old winger a three-year contract reportedly worth £240,000 a week.
Without any re-sale value, this was always going to be a risky deal for the north London side – a risk that failed to pay off after the Brazilian international only managed to score one goal in 34 games in red and white.
Despite Arteta’s pre-season claims about the qualities of Willian, the then 32-year-old would only go on to have a rotational squad role as the season drew to an end.
With the space now open for another attacking player, Arsenal may look to replace the winger.
A direct replacement would seem unlikely as the club already have four recognised wingers in the squad. If Reiss Nelson doesn’t leave before the end of the window, which currently seems unlikely, it would be five wingers.
When signing Willian, Arteta said: “We have been monitoring him for the past few months, we had a clear intention to strengthen in the attacking midfielder and the winger positions (and) he is a player that gives us a lot of versatility.”
This could swing to the notion of Arsenal replacing the 33-year-old for his versatility in multiple positions.
Houssem Aouar is a player that Arsenal have been heavily linked with during this transfer window and he is a midfielder that is very versatile.
The French international can play as a central midfielder, an attacking midfielder or on the wing – positions similar to what Willian covers.
The chances of Aouar replacing Willian have also been boosted due to the £20 million saved from the Brazilian’s departure. Get French Football News is now reporting that Lyon are willing to let Aouar leave on a loan deal with an obligation to buy next summer, which means any money from the Willian exit can be put into this transfer at a later date.
Whilst this deal would make sense after Willian’s expected departure, Arsenal could look to strengthen elsewhere and the right-back position is a priority, football.london understands.
With deadline day approaching, Arsenal are set to be busy. However, the focus remains on outgoings.
Do you think Aouar would be a good replacement for Willian? Follow our new Arsenal Fan Brands Writer & Presenter Bailey Keogh on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.
Source by Football London