Arsenal are reportedly closing in on signing Willian as he prepares to become a free agent, and Martin Keown has praised the club for the expected move.
The 31-year-old joined the Blues in 2013 and has gone on to score 63 goals and provide 62 assists in 339 appearances for the club.
With his current contract set to expire this summer though, he is expected to move on from Stamford Bridge but he won’t be moving far as BBC Sport note that Arsenal are close to securing a deal for the Brazilian stalwart.
Responding to speculation linking the club with a move for his compatriot Philippe Coutinho too, Keown isn’t so keen on the Barcelona misfit but has offered his full backing to the swoop for Willian given he is experienced, Premier League battle hardened and has the work ethic he wants to see from players.
“Coutinho has been linked with virtually everybody and seems, if I am honest, a bit unsettled,” Keown told Mirror Sport. “I think Willian is a safer bet. He’s in the capital, he knows the Premier League very well and he’s a top performer. I think it’s a huge loss for Chelsea.
“I think that’s a fantastic bit of business. I have always been a real admirer of Willian.
“When I saw what he has been doing this year at Chelsea with his free-kicks and penalties, he’s so realible.
“He has had his misfortunes with [Eden] Hazard being there. Sometimes he has had to play second-fiddle. Now he is fighting for a place with [Christian] Pulisic.
“I know there is a discussion over two or three years [contract], but I think he would be a really good acquisition for Arsenal. He comes in with a wealth of experience and I like his work ethic.
“He is someone who will always give you 100 per cent and the right type of player to go into what is a really young Arsenal dressing room.”
Time will tell if Arsenal are able to make the deal official, but it certainly sounds as though the veteran will be staying in London ahead of next season with Chelsea moving on in their own direction.
Keown will no doubt be delighted if it is announced, as Mikel Arteta looks to continue to try and stamp his mark on the squad and to build on their FA Cup success.