It’s been pretty funny to see how Chelsea fans have been more worried about getting a player such as Willian than the own Tottenham fans who have been believing until yesterday that the deal was done after that freaking public medical had been done. Can’t we stop worrying for a moment and just start thinking a bit?
Stephen’s report about Willian may be a year and a half old but it’s still pretty accurate. He didn’t grow up in height all of a sudden; he’s still a marvelous dribbler with great pace and an eye for the goal and can play in either wing position as well as being employed in the middle, although Transfermarkt claims that he played mostly on the left lane of the pitch. One thing that has changed, though, is his work rate and he’s been way better in his defensive contribution.
Yes, I know that he’s not even a squad player for Brazil and all that. But consider that he’s behind Neymar and Lucas Moura in the depth chart and you’ll know why he’s been left out of the squad for so long – although I’m sure that he can easily become Neymar’s backup once he starts playing in England along with Ramires and Oscar.
At £30m he might be a tad overpriced, and I believe that his wages will be a bit high too considering that he’s coming from the former rich club of Makhachkala (2.5m/year in a country with roughly 20% of tax income). Levy still is that same old grump who won’t be willing to pay a bit more in wages to keep his key players and to attract top ones, and I’m sure that Willian would be unsettled in Spurs pretty much like Bale and Modric.
I guess that most worries from Chelsea players comes from three "prepositions" regarding Willian’s arrival:
A) We're not getting a striker anymore and so far, neither Torres nor Ba (and even Lukaku to some extent) have shown that they can lead Chelsea throughout the season;
2) There are plenty of areas of need in the squad, including center-back and midfield, where this money could be spent;
D) WE'RE SELLING MATA! OH NOES!
Well, first of all, according to our own official site, the club is chasing BOTH Rooney and Willian. That £100m figure from FSW’s interview a few months ago seems to be true after that, and I like that we haven’t become all of a sudden an utterly responsible club financially like both our neighbors in North London.
Second of all, I don’t think that we can buy an upgrade over DL, JT, ManBearSerb and even Cahill (gasp!) with less than £20m. The market has been crazy about good defenders, and PSG even bought a freaking 19 years old defender with only one good season in Italy for more than 30m euros. And all the good midfielders seem to have gone to Tottenham (sad face).
Finally, according to our own Special One, we’re not selling Mata and we want "more quality, not less (of it)". Also, it doesn’t really make sense to sell your best offensive player in the squad for one that offers a completely different set of tools for the squad. Mata isn’t a speedster, neither he is a great dribbler, and he’s probably the worst player in the squad defensively. Still, he’s pretty capable of being employed as our trequartista the same way Totti has been for Roma since forever. He’s a liability when we’re defending, but he’s one of the best moving forward.
I think we can calm down at this moment. But I want to introduce you one of my theories…
In my WAGNHSSS (does anyone remember that?), I suggested that Mourinho could be the perfect guy to do one of the things we’ve been craving for: setting Oscar as a definitive pivot player.
People seem to keep forgetting this but the Brazilian is only a year or two older than our Kraken. The same can be said about Hazard, and Mata is the oldest of all those players. Willian at 25 would be the 2nd oldest attacking midfielder in the squad if he’s brought – only behind Mata.
We all should know that "backtracking" isn’t the only thing that makes Oscar a good candidate for a pivot spot. He’s probably the attacking midfielder who contributes the most defensively, and is pretty technical. He’s not the most physical player and I think that he even lacks the pace – just like Mata – to play on the wing. At least he makes up with work rate and an amazing game vision given his age.
Some of you claim that MvG is more than ready to be a starter in this Chelsea squad, and if we only look at his preseason performances I’m right there with you. Still, I don’t think he’s ready for a full season in EPL. Remember that he’s coming from the Eredivisie, probably the only "top" league where you can employ a 2-3-5 formation with success. He’s young and willing, but he’s not even close to any other player in the squad in experience. He might be more talented than most, but he should stay as a backup instead of a sure starter.
Oscar, meanwhile, can pretty much lose his spot in the attacking trio if Willian’s transfer comes to fruition. Hazard probably won’t leave his spot in the left wing; Mata will be our Totti under Spalletti and will scores 20 goals, give out 20 assists whilst making zero tackles; and Willian can either cross or cut inside to shoot in the right wing. And I’m sure Oscar isn’t becoming a "star sub" under Mourinho.
Lampard has been starting alongside Ramires in the pivot under Mourinho because: A) the Special One doesn’t want to leave the Vice-Captain and Legend unhappy; 2) he doesn’t have someone better at the moment to play alongside "Nu-Makelele" (credits to Peezy); D) Lampard is a liability in the pivot but makes it up for his goalscoring abilities. I’m one of those who doesn’t think this will last long – and I’m glad for that – and that Lamp’s place won’t be taken over by neither MvG nor Mikel, but Oscar.
I might be completely wrong – and this isn’t the first time it happens, for sure – but I’m pretty fine with having a great player and a minor upgrade over a position we’re already stacked while keeping Oscar in the starting line-up and adding Rooney - or whoever is plan B or C - in the mix to (finally!) have a striker who can actually score goals.