Willian did get to play a fair bit under Maurizio Sarri during the Italian’s one season in charge where he not only finished in the top 4 of the Premier League securing Champions League football at Stamford Bridge for the 2019-20 season with the team at that time about to be subject of a 2 transfer window embargo which we now know has been halved by CAS but Sarri also beat Arsenal in the Europa League Cup Final which also guarantees the winner a place in the Champions League.
As Chelsea were already qualified the next in line got the spot but in some way the Blues win might have also helped get Wolves into the Europa League. Willian appeared in 55 games for Chelsea last season under Sarri but also played about 10 games for Brazil about half of which were after the season ended in the Copa America.
Willian notched a decent 9 goals with 2 assists under Sarri and saw more game time than he had been seeing under Sarri’s predecessor Antonio Conte and he responded with a decent level of performance and he was back to beating men and taking set pieces and being one of the main men which he was not under Conte and as a result the links with Manchester United and a reunion with Jose Mourinho were as usual hammered in the British press. Nothing came of the rumours as Willian actually came out and said he wanted to stay at Chelsea.
Fast forward to this season under Frank Lampard and Willian has only played 21 games while he has scored 3 goals for Chelsea but he has not appeared for his country yet this season although he did play 4 or 5 games for Brazil in the Copa America and a Friendly at the end of the 2018-19 season in the summer. At this stage last season Willian had played 25 games and scored 3 goals in the season for Chelsea under Sarri and also played in the community shield as well as 3 games for Brazil in international friendlies by the second week in December.
With all the youth in the squad getting played by Frank Lampard with the likes of Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Emerson, Reece James and Christian Pulisic all getting game time with Mount, Abraham and Pulisic in particular getting significant game time and producing for their manager, opportunities for Willian have been more limited this campaign. So far he has played only 21 times for his club but he did play 5 times for Brazil in the summer. Willian seems to still have the ability to shift the ball quickly to make room for a shot and he has 3 goals, 2 of which were winners this term.
Willian is 31 years old and his contract is up in the summer of 2020 when he turns 32 at the beginning of the 2020-21 season and while his skills are getting the job done now in a year from now at the end of his contract he may have lost a yard and it is unlikely given Chelsea’s handling of players over 30 they would be tempted to offer a multi-year deal to the Brazilian, its only 1 year deals if they do usually.
The word out of Chelsea is that contract talks are looking positive and the player and club want the same things. Whether that really ends up to be true we will see in the months ahead but the poll we ran clearly showed that by a 2:1 ratio Chelsea fans want Willian to stay at Chelsea and sign a longer term deal as the fans still rate the Brazilian and have a lot of love for him after the loyalty he has shown over his 7 year spell at Stamford Bridge where he has never let them down. Let’s not forget the fact that Willian also turned down a lucrative contract with Tottenham to join the Blues in the first place.