The South American first moved to Ukraine from Corinthians for £11.5 million four seasons ago and has gone on to make 162 appearances for the club, scoring 22 times.
Shakhtar are thought to want around £13 million for the attacker but Arsenal are reluctant to pay that much for the 22-year old. With Arsenal’s own Brazilian Denilson thought to be on his way out of the club, the midfielder could be used as a makeweight in any deal and bring the transfer fee down.
Willian has experience of playing at the top level of European competition having first helped Shakhtar to the 2009 Uefa Cup and, more recently, as the club made the Quarter Finals of last season’s Champions League.
The Brazilian’s arrival could also pave the way for the departure of Samir Nasri. The French International is approaching the final year of his contract and Arsenal are considering cashing in on the player rather than losing him for nothing next Summer. Manchester United have been linked with a £10 million move for the 23-year old but whether Arsenal would sell him to their bitter rivals remains to be seen.