Since Juan Cuadrado has arrived at Chelsea, many expected the Colombian to take Willian’s place in the Chelsea side. The Guardian have reported that Chelsea paid £27 million for the man who will be looking to become a regular starter for Jose Mourinho’s side, but at this particular moment in time, there are no clear candidates that should make way for the winger.
The Colombian World Cup star made his full debut against Everton this week, slotting comfortably into Mourinho’s attacking midfield with Eden Hazard and Willian. Cuadrado impressed throughout the match, showing good levels of energy and commitment, working hard for the team but also looking dangerous when he had the chance to run at defenders.
Although the former Fiorentina star impressed for Chelsea, he will find it difficult to break into the first team. This is mainly due to the talent Mourinho can choose from in the midfield positions. There is Eden Hazard, who performs at a consistently high level and has the ability to create something spectacular. It is a similar story with Oscar, a young, talented footballer who is creative and works very hard for the team.
Then there is Willian, the player many identified as the man to make way for Cuadrado. Despite this, the Brazilian has performed very well since the Colombian arrived at the club. Before the arrival of Cuadrado, Willian wasn’t exactly a weak link in the Chelsea side anyway.
He is a perfectly capable performer for Chelsea at that level; he just hasn’t produced the same standard of brilliance that Oscar and Hazard have shown this season. However, he did score the winner against Everton this week, providing an excellent response to those who thought he would be the player to make way for Cuadrado. One of the best aspects of Willian’s play is the fact that he works very hard for the team. He has an endless amount of energy and is willing to cover a lot of ground in order to help defend when Chelsea are without the ball.
His commitment to the cause is one of the reasons as to why he is popular amongst Chelsea fans and Mourinho himself. The Portugese manager demands 100% effort from his players, something that Willian regularly achieves due to his excellent work rate.
As well as being good without the ball, Willian can also provide the creative spark to Chelsea’s attacking play. Although it can be argued that the likes of Oscar, Hazard and Fabregas are Chelsea’s more creative players; Willian does have the ability to offer a lot in attack as well. His strike against Everton may have taken a deflection, but it was very well struck, and resulted in Chelsea maintaining their seven point lead over second placed Manchester City.
Due to Cuadrado’s arrival, Mourinho now has more options in midfield. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Willian has to be dropped – the manager will instead rotate his squad in order to get the best out of his players.
What is important is that Chelsea have further strength in depth, and if a midfielder was to pick up an injury, a player with the ability of Cuadrado is an excellent replacement for any of the current Chelsea midfielders. Therefore, the signing of Cuadrado was not a vote of no confidence from Mourinho regarding his current midfield. Instead, the manager has added further quality to his squad, providing more options in a team that already boasts a host of talent.