Only a few things in life are certain: Zlatan being Zlatan, taxes, Messi scoring free kicks, Lewandowski scoring in every game and Juventus getting every good player who runs out his contract. Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba, Kingsley Coman, Sami Khedira, Aaron Ramsey, Emre Can, and many more have all been signed by Juventus on a free transfer at some point. Now, for their next trick, the Old Lady are looking to add another jewel to their crown of freebies, by going after Willian when his Chelsea contract expires at the end of the season.
The Brazilian will be free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with foreign sides in January, having failed to agree terms on an extension to his current deal with Chelsea.
According to the Mirror, the 31-year-old’s availability on a free transfer is set to have alerted some of Europe’s leading clubs, with Juventus and Barcelona having both held a long-standing interest in signing the former Shakhtar Donetsk star.
Willian appeared likely to be deemed surplus to requirements at Chelsea this season following the emergence of several young stars, though the winger has shone in recent weeks and providing an experienced figure for the club’s developing side.
Such has been his impact, Willian captained his side in Cesar Azpilicueta’s absence during Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Crystal Palace last weekend, with manager Frank Lampard now keen to secure a new contract for the player and keep him at the club.
Although Lampard’s recent statements hinted at his reluctance to let him go, there is no action to proof that stance so far. Lampard and Willian’s Chelsea careers intertwined for a season in 2013-14 when the Blues reached the Champions League semi-finals and finished third in the Premier League before the legendary midfielder ended his Stamford Bridge career. Speaking on Willian’s importance to Chelsea after their win against Crystal Palace:
‘I can’t get involved in the money, that’s up to the club, but I think everyone sees I’m relying on him and I love him at this football club,’ Lampard told Chelsea’s media.
‘When I looked at him at the start of the season, I saw him being huge for me and the way we want to play.
‘The off-the-ball work he’s done is an absolutely outstanding example for Callum Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic and other young wingers who think the only part of the game is going past people and crossing or shooting.
Why Willian would fit in perfectly at Juventus
Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba, Kingsley Coman, Sami Khedira, Aaron Ramsey and on and on it goes. When you consider some of those past names Juventus have signed on a free transfer, it’s easy to see the traits the Old Lady hierarchy always go out for. Talent, experience and title-winning pedigree.
Having put up an eight-year dominance of the Serie A title, it’s expected that Juve always look out for players with an elite mentality that can help them maintain their charge at the top. Not players who get carried away by winning titles or players who are out to impress but players who have been there at the top level and can maintain a clear focus even in the midst of pressure.
Willian is one player who perfectly fits those descriptions. Since Willian joined Chelsea from Anzhi Makhachkala in 2013, he has played a key role in two title-winning teams, as well as winning the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League with the club. At 31, the winger is also a key player of the Brazilian national side and thus has loads of experience on his hands.
While Willian might not have the best goal-scoring record, his work-rate and set-piece abilities would be very influential to the Bianconeri team and would offer a whole lot more upfront. As per Transfermarkt, the Chelsea winger has only scored 55 goals and made 56 assists in 307 appearances but one thing about Willian is the tendency to score goals that really count the most.
It’s no surprise Barcelona are also involved in the race to secure his services. On a good day, Willian would be a good signing for Juventus but even better if it would come at no cost. His former manager Mircea Lucescu from Willian’s spell in Russia with Anzhi Makhachkala recently said the Brazilian would be the ideal player for Juve and there is no reason to see why that isn’t true.