Brazil international midfielder has also been linked with Barcelona and Inter Miami
Last Updated: 07/08/20 8:20am
Arsenal are close to completing the signing of midfielder Willian from Chelsea on a three-year deal.
Arsenal moved into pole position to sign the Brazil international by offering a three-year contract earlier this week, and are now on the verge of beating off competition from Barcelona and Inter Miami.
Along with the length of the deal, joining Mikel Arteta’s rejuvenated side and the chance to work with fellow Brazilian Edu are the reasons Arsenal are favourites to secure Willian’s signature.
Despite wanting the 31-year-old to extend his stay at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea have refused to offer more than a further two years – and the chances of him being a Chelsea player when the new season begins in five weeks now look remote.
Frank Lampard has admitted his side need to improve defensively, but that Chelsea would need to sell before they can buy, having already spent big in the attacking areas by bringing in Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.
Willian made 47 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions and finished the season in fine form, with four Premier League goals after the restart taking his tally for the season to nine.
Arsenal’s pursuit of Willian comes as they attempt to seal a new deal for captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is understood to be close to extending his contract, with his current deal set to expire in the summer of 2021.
Analysis: ‘Willian wants one last big deal’
Sky Sports News’ Kaveh Solhekol:
“Willian wants one big final contract – ideally a three-year deal to take him to 35. Chelsea would like to keep him, though they’re not going to offer him three years.
“At the moment, it looks like Arsenal is his most likely destination but he is a free agent and at his age, realistically, you’re likely to go where there is the most money and longest contract on offer.
“He’s got a great injury record so his agent will be saying, ‘Don’t worry about his fitness’.”
Chelsea are willing to listen to offers for up to 10 first-team players, including goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, Jorginho and centre-back trio Antonio Rudiger, Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christiansen.
Emerson, Jorginho, Victor Moses, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Danny Drinkwater and Michy Batshuayi are among a long list of players Chelsea would also be willing to offload.
Summer transfer window – key dates and times
The summer transfer window will run for 10 weeks from July 27 and close at 11pm on October 5.
A domestic-only window for trades between the Premier League and EFL then runs from October 5 and closes on Friday October 16 at 5pm. Follow all the news and analysis on Sky Sports News and across Sky Sports‘ digital platforms, including with our dedicated Transfer Centre blog.