As a general rule, if a player’s contract is running down and there’s no sign of a breakthrough, then it’s probably best to start making plans to replace them.
The case with Willian at Chelsea has dragged on for a while now, and most signs point to him moving on. Chelsea don’t have a great tradition of holding onto their veteran players, and it sounds like he wants a longer term deal.
A report from Football Espana has looked at some comments from the Brazilian, and this is the clearest sign yet that he’s planning to leave:
“Everyone knows my contract ends in a few months, and a renewal is difficult. I think it will be very difficult for me to renew, as I want three more years, and Chelsea have only offered two.”
“At the moment, it is undecided what will happen, but I am free to negotiate with other teams”
In a way it actually sounds terrifically simple – Chelsea need to offer him that length of contract or he leaves. The report also suggests that Barcelona are now at the front of the queue to sign him if he does leave.
It’s a tough one for Chelsea to get right because nobody likes to see a great player leave for free, but they will also get criticised if they hand out a big deal and then his pace goes, leaving them with an expensive player who’s past his best.
There’s no sign of a resolution just now, but it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on.