Chelsea had refused gifts upwards of £50m, as well as player exchange offers involving young Malcom, from Barcelona for Blues mainstay Willian in the last twelve months. These decisions left many baffled, to say the least, especially with the obvious talents of someone like Callum Hudson-Odoi waiting in the wings (literally).
But now, Hudson-Odoi looks to have ascended to proper first-choice contention, while Willian has started just 2 of the last 5 games. Should that become 2 of the last 6 this weekend, Jason Burt’s report in the Telegraph that Barcelona could be back in for another try with Willian just might take on extra significance. Willian wasn’t too happy at his frequent substitute appearances under Conte, and could conceivably want to go do that at Barcelona instead.
The report is vague on details, as these sorts of reports tend to be, but Burt does mention that Barcelona would be looking for a “cut rate deal”. That’s the price we’d have to pay for not taking the sweeter deals last summer or in January.
But clearing out some of the older logjam and trusting the club’s future goals (literal and figurative) to the likes of Hudson-Odoi and Pulisic would not be the worst idea, especially with a transfer ban looming sooner or later. Chelsea need to build for the future and that future surely won’t involve the likes of Willian (or Pedro), both over 30 now.
With a year left on each of their contracts, it’s time to make some decisions.