Tottenham seemed to be breezing through with the transfer of Willian in August 2013, until Roman Abramovich decided to use his Russian connection and secure the player’s transfer to Chelsea for £32million.
Despite not having played much for his last club, Anzhi Makhachkala, the player came with a solid reputation, having performed well with Shakhtar Donetsk between 2007-2013, winning four Ukrainian Premier League trophies, three Ukrainian Cups, three Ukrainian Super Cups and also the UEFA Cup in 2008-09
The Willian buzz
Chelsea fans were right to feel excited about the new signing; they clearly hoped that Willian would add a new dimension to the team, bringing in speed and excellent skills.
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He also suited the Jose Mourinho style of play, being used to counter attacks along with a willingness to defend and take an industrial approach.
Things not what they seemed
However, even the most ardent fan will agree that things have not exactly gone as per the script. Talking about statistics, Willian has scored eight goals in 91 games for Chelsea in different competitions, he also has six assists for the club.
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These are not great numbers for an attacking player at a club of Chelsea’s stature, especially considering he has been a regular starter for the team for some time now. While many pundits and fans might argue there are more useful aspects to his game and he is a better player than the stats show, the fact is that he has been average in the final third of the pitch.
Chelsea are blessed with excellent quality and a player like Willian should have thrived in the environment. With Francesc Fabregas and Diego Costa coming in and Eden Hazard being his usual brilliant self last season, there should have been more goals or assists from him.
Last chance saloon
This season though you feel will be make or break for Willian. Chelsea are fast evolving and they are hungry now for continued success, especially in Europe. They want to be considered among the very elite in the club fraternity and for that they need players who always perform at the highest level.
Mourinho and the club’s coaching staff regard Willian highly for his never say die attitude. But even they will start considering other options if the Brazilian doesn’t come to the show this season and contribute more goals.
Could he go?
Mourinho has been forming a formidable team for the past two seasons and is now trying to plug in the gaps. If he thinks there is a need for change he won’t hesitate in replacing Willian, as he showed with Juan Mata’s sale.
Another aspect to consider in this regard is the willingness of top players to come and play in the Premier League. Even though Mesut Ozil, Angel Di Maria and Alexis Sanchez might transferred to England because of lack of chances with Real Madrid and Barcelona, they are still match winning players and add to overall competition level of the league.
Chelsea too, if needed, can flex their financial muscles in coming seasons to procure a seemingly better alternative to Willian if he doesn’t deliver this season. They have already brought in competition for him in the shape of Juan Cuadrado, who plays in the same position. Only time will tell if Cuadrado succeeds or not, but the writing is on the wall for Willian.
What do the fans think?
The majority of Chelsea fans still love Willian and have faith in him, but it is now time for the player to pay back the fans’ faith with a good season. Creating chances and astonishingly fast runs on the pitch are ultimately of no use if the job isn’t completed.
With a team of Chelsea’s quality and more importantly, a team who seems to be gelling and having an excellent team spirit, there is no reason that a player of Willian’s quality cannot succeed and take it a level higher.
Chelsea fans, do you agree? Should Willian be doing more for the club in the final third? Let us know in the comments box below.