Is Willian worth Chelsea offering a three-year deal?

The Brazilian is seeking a longer extension, but Chelsea appear unwilling to offer more than two - should they relent?

7:30am on Monday 3rd August 2020
Cameron Smith

Contract negotiations between Willian and Chelsea have been ongoing for near-on 12 months now, and an agreement seems just as far away as back in September 2019.

The Blues appear willing to offer the winger a two-year extension to his current deal, but Willian is currently after a three-year contract.

Kia Joorabchian, Willian’s agent, said: "He’s [Willian] had a big offer from the MLS and two teams from the Premier League and two offers in Europe. He will make his mind up after the FA Cup final."

If Chelsea are serious about keeping him, they will face competition and it's now or never. The signings of Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech seemed to address the impending exits of both Willian and Pedro, whose contract also runs out at the close of the 19/20 season, but Willian’s form since Project Restart has sparked a conversation over whether the club should give him the deal he desires.

2019/20 - his best campaign

Age usually impacts pacey wingers more than any other position on the pitch, yet Willian has managed to buck the trend and at 31 he enjoyed his most fruitful season in a Chelsea shirt.

His 16 goal contributions (nine goals and seven assists) in the Premier League in the 19/20 season was his best ever, previous best was 13 in 17/18, and was more than both Alexandre Lacazette (14) and Nicolas Pepe (11) managed last term.

31 yrs - W (RL) - Chelsea
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His underlying numbers also represented a positive campaign, with the Brazilian taking 2.5 shots, creating 2.6 key passes, and completing 2.3 dribbles P90.

His xG + xA P90 tally of 0.58 is his second best in a Chelsea shirt, behind 2017/18, and betters the aforementioned Pepe’s 0.45, and falls only slightly behind Anthony Martial’s 0.61.

Incoming Signings

With Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and potentially Kai Havertz all arriving at Stamford Bridge this summer, Willian would likely assume a back-up role if he does decide to renew his current deal.

Brentford’s Said Benrahma has reportedly been on Chelsea’s radar for several months, and if Willian chooses to leave, then a pursuit of Benrahma is likely.

The Algerian has been the star in Thomas Frank’s Brenford side this season, scoring 17 and assisting a further nine in the Bees’ push for promotion.

His availability in the transfer market may well depend on the outcome of the Championship play-off final, in which Brentford face Fulham to join Leeds and West Brom in the Premier League next season.

Despite evidently playing in a far inferior league, Benrahma’s numbers in 19/20 exceed those of Willian’s by a fair margin.

His 2.3 key passes is slightly lower than the Brazilian’s, but his 4.2 shots and 3.1 dribbles, as well as his G+A, highlight his talent.

However, it seems as though Benrahma will only be signed if Willian leaves, but whoever it is will likely find themselves as a rotation option, rather than a starter for the Blues next term.

Willian's Career at Chelsea

A great servant for the club throughout his seven years at Stamford Bridge, Willian has 70 goal contributions in 234 Premier League games for the Blues, which averages out at 0.3 goals and assists P90.

In comparison, Eden Hazard managed 136 goal contributions in his 245 league games for the Blues (0.55 G+A P90).

Whilst Willian can be defined as a successful signing for Chelsea, his likely exit spells the end of Chelsea’s Brazilian experiment, with the likes of Ramires, Oscar and David Luiz all leaving in recent years; Willian could be next.

It comes down to Willian's demand of a three-year deal; Chelsea may be wise to rather stick to the offer of a two-year extension, and sign Benrahma if a Willian refuses.

Whether Willian stays, or Benrahma is signed as his replacement, Chelsea will have an attacking roster that challenges the best in the league next season.

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