One of the most surprising pre-summer transfer news for this year is the reported interest of Arsenal in Chelsea winger Willian on a free transfer. The Brazilian player will be a free agent in the coming weeks and several clubs are on his trail despite the fact that the possibility of him staying at Chelsea has not been completely ruled out.
London clubs Arsenal and Chelsea enjoy a fierce rivalry spanning decades but the two clubs rarely conducted transfer businesses together until the tension generated from the Ashley Cole-William Gallas swap during the start of the Wenger vs Mourinho rivalry. The swap deal heightened the animosity between Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho as the former was reluctant to let Ashley Cole leave for Stamford Bridge.
The tension between Wenger and Mourinho eased during the second coming of the latter as the Blues boss in 2014 though that didn’t stop roles from being reversed on the transfer front as the Portuguese tactician was not willing to sell Petr Cech to Arsenal and Arsene Wenger in the summer of 2015. His Chelsea bosses gave the go ahead for the transfer of the now retired goalkeeper.
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Since the Cech transfer, Arsenal have sold French striker Olivier Giroud to Chelsea to further suggest that the two teams no longer have issues doing transfer business with each other. Despite the ease of transfer between Arsenal and Chelsea, the aforementioned Willian transfer links to the Gunners is still surprising.
Arsenal are not the only club keen to take Willian on a free transfer this summer with other Premier League rivals like Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur also interested in him. Latest media reports say that Arsenal are the favourites to sign Willian and here is why:
1. Brazilian contingent – Willian is good friends with David Luiz who left Chelsea for Arsenal last summer. David Luiz is said to be the underground agent pitching the idea of an Arsenal transfer to Willian. Young attacker Gabriel Martinelli is another Brazilian at the Emirates Stadium.
2. Contract Length – Brazilian international Willian wants at least a three-year deal this summer and Chelsea are not ready to offer him that. Willian could get that at Arsenal who have offered him a two-year contract according to widespread reports.