Jack Grealish. Philippe Coutinho. Thomas Partey. Willian. What's the connection between these four players?
Well, all four have been recently linked with a move to Arsenal. Three have been received with open arms by the Arsenal faithful, as they are proven high-quality players in positions Arsenal are lacking. One however, has certainly split the fanbase.
I am indeed talking about Willian. The Brazillian has been linked to Arsenal on a free transfer following the expiration of his contract at Chelsea. Indeed, most people I have seen talk about it on Twitter and Instagram respectively think this is a good signing. I have more on the signing.
Yes, Willian's a good squad player. Yes, he's experienced. Yes, he could be a good mentor figure for the younger players. Willian also still has quality, with 9 goals and 7 assists in 36 Premier League games, as well as 2 shots, 2.7 key passes and 1.8 dribbles per game.
But for me, that's where the positives end.
Willian turns thirty-two very, very soon. That's what irks me most with this signing. I thought we were past the phase of signing over-30 year olds in the hope of qualifying for the Champions League. I thought we learnt something from the signings of Lichstiener, Sokratis, Luiz and Mkhitaryan.
Add onto that the rumours that Willian apparently wants a 3 year contract, and even more problems arise. Because it's a free transfer, the Brazillian would undoubtedly be on huge wages, leaving Arsenal to potentially fall into another Mesut Özil situation.
If rumours are to be believed, Willian will be 35 by the time his contract ends. It'll get to the point where he won't want to leave because he knows he won't get the same amount of money if he moves. This means it'll be another old player who is surplus to requirements gobbling up big wages, crippling our already small finances.
What baffles me with the move is who Chelsea have got lined up to replace Willian; a certain Saïd Benrahma. If Chelsea are looking at the Frenchman for a reported £20 million, why aren't Arsenal? Why aren't Arsenal, instead of going in for a soon to be past it winger, trying to sign the best player in the Championship? If Brentford don't go up, Benrahma will almost certainly leave, and Arsenal will have missed the chance to sign a very talented young winger.
I have mixed opinions on the Willian deal. It does have it's merits, for sure. However, it could very likely mean another player inflating the club's wage bill, taking money Arsenal can't afford to lose and halting the development of a home-grown player in the likes of Folarin Balogun.