With the player entering his 30s, Chelsea’s Willian needs to be cast aside to allow the club’s promising young players to get a good run of games in the side.
Willian, even in his peak, has proved to be the source of some frustration for many Chelsea fans since arriving from Anzhi Makhachkala back in 2013. The Brazilian international has had his end product questioned at times, with his best goalscoring season in the league reaping just eight goals.
His professionalism under Antonio Conte was called into question, especially after the 30-year-old hid his manager’s face with emojis after the club’s FA Cup win at the end of last season.
This season, however, he has been much happier under Maurizio Sarri, with the Italian also seemingly happy with the player given the fact that he recently started him in 11 consecutive games.
Despite his quality shining through in this campaign more than seasons gone by due to Sarri’s free-flowing style, there is still the feeling that Willian is an asset that could be better off away from Stamford Bridge. Barcelona are reportedly still interested in him, as per La Sexta (via Metro), and are said to be readying a £50m offer or a swap deal with fellow Brazilian Malcom.
At just 21 years of age, a swap deal for Malcom would be excellent business. However, it is the Blues’ own youngsters that should be benefiting from any potential Willian exit.
Whilst Malcom is an exceptional talent worth bringing to London, Loftus-Cheek and Hudson-Odoi are also quality players. The former of which recently scored a hat-trick against BATE, followed by a goal in the next game against Burnley, only to find himself fail to get off the bench against Crystal Palace. Meanwhile, 18-year-old Hudson-Odoi has barely been seen although he did make a five-minute cameo against BATE, in a match that Loftus-Cheek started, on Thursday.
It is a common trait of the club to waste exceptional young talent in favour of spending chunks of cash on bringing in new faces. In this case, however, it is one of their own in Willian who needs to be sacrificed to prevent the pathway being blocked for two exquisite youngsters at Stamford Bridge.