Willian linked with future Juve move
Willian may not have left Chelsea this summer, but it appears Juventus are interested in signing the Brazil international.
The 31-year-old is one of the longest-serving players at Stamford Bridge, as he has gone on to make nearly 300 appearances across all competitions since arriving from Anzhi Makhachkala in 2013.
However, new Blues boss Frank Lampard is placing a greater emphasis on youth, with the likes of Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham playing more prominent roles over the opening weeks of the season.
Indeed, the emergence of those two players, in particular, has limited Willian to just 55 minutes of Premier League football so far this term, although a hamstring injury has also contributed to his lack of action.
It wouldn’t have been a surprise had Willian opted to move on from Chelsea before the close of the European transfer window on Monday, but no such move materialised, perhaps as Chelsea remain under a transfer embargo and don’t want to leave their squad too stretched.
However, Willian’s current deal in West London is due to expire at the end of the season, which means he would be free to sign a pre-contract agreement with a European club come the New Year.
Juventus are one of the sides that are said to be interested in the former Shakhtar Donetsk star and they would be willing to wait until the end of the season to conclude a deal.
The Old Lady are managed by former Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri, who is known to be a big fan of Willian and used him frequently during their time together at Stamford Bridge.
Juve also have a good knack of picking up top talent from their European rivals on free transfers, with the likes of Fabio Cannavaro, Andrea Pirlo and Paul Pogba having arrived in Turin for nothing in the past.
Even this summer, Juve showed their ability to pick up players for free, with Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot arriving after their contracts at Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain ran down.
It would certainly be no surprise to see Willian become the next experienced player to arrive at the Allianz Stadium, although a lot will surely depend on how much game-time he sees with Chelsea over the coming months.
Should the winger force his way back into Lampard’s starting line-up, then that could be enough to convince him to stay at Stamford Bridge, although after six years in English football, he may also be tempted by a fresh challenge elsewhere.
Tom McGarry completed his sports journalist degree in 2011,and has since has become an integral part of the editorial and audio team. He is passionate about all things sport, particularly football, and is a lifelong supporter of his hometown club Carlisle United.