Willian: The perfect addition for Spurs?
It looks increasingly likely that Willian will be replacing Bale at Tottenham, so how effective can he be?
If reports from the UK are to be believed, Liverpool look all set to lose another player they had their eye on this summer.
Tottenham are reportedly on the verge of completing a £30million move for the Brazilian forward Willian from Anzhi Makhachkala.
After flourishing under Mircea Lucescu's attacking system, whilst operating on the left of a 4–2-3-1, Willian quickly established himself as one of the stars of the Shaktar Donetsk side who enjoyed a very good year in Europe.
Although he played on the left, his style play primarily consisted of cutting infield on to his stronger right foot and making use of his astute footballing brain to provide the necessary final ball.
With the imminent departure of Bale, there is likely to be a huge void in the left side of Tottenham’s attack and it is here that Willian is expected to fit right in.
Willian is known for his quick feet and for his eye for a pass, whilst also being strong for his slight stature, but if there ever was a criticism of him, it is that he doesn't score as many goals as he probably should.
Whilst it is widely agreed that he has always been a creator rather than a finisher, his finishing still lacks some finesse.
After a hugely successful five and a half year stint at Shaktar, Willian moved to Anzhi last winter for £30million – roughly the same fee they are seeking to recoup right now. Whilst Lucescu was visibly upset at the thought of letting one of his prized assets go, there was nothing that he could do, once Willian's release clause had been triggered.
Whilst Willian's time in Russia has not been a hugely productive one, he has probably been the best attacking player for Anzhi in an otherwise dreadful start to the season. As he was left out for Saturday's 3-0 defeat at Zenit, many assumed that it was in anticipation of his move to England.
Willian is a very modern player in the sense that he can operate in a variety of positions with the same intensity and vigor and not just in his natural position.
Whilst he can certainly operate on the right side, with Lennon already staking a claim for his place and with Chadli, not yet establishing himself, it is more likely that Tottenham see Willian as a replacement for Gareth Bale, somebody who will start on the left and cut infield.
There is certainly more than a passing similarity between Bale and Willian in the way they play. Both their games are based on pace, directness and their ability to win matches on their own.
Unfortunately for Tottenham, the buck stops there and it is unreasonable to expect a similar goal tally to the one notched up by Bale last season, even if they are likely to see an increase in Willian's normal goal ratio.
That is just one of the many reasons why he isn’t a like-for-like replacement.
Even if his transfer fee seems a little too high, there are few Premier League sides Willian would not improve. Aged just 25, he should be just moving into his prime and will be expected the shoulder the burden of creativity for a very long time in this exciting Tottenham lineup. And whilst Willian is no Bale, he is as good as it's going to get for Tottenham.
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