Veteran Chelsea wingers Willian and Pedro both agreed temporary contract extensions earlier this week, which will allow them to see out the final seven July games of the delayed Premier League season, as well as the rest of the FA Cup should Chelsea advance past Leicester City on Sunday.
With their actual contracts expiring on June 30 and no extensions in sight, reports earlier had postulated that neither of them would want to risk injury in such a financially and career-wise unsecure situation. That was unsurprising especially in the case of Pedro, who had reportedly already agreed to sign with AS Roma as a free agent after the season. Willian meanwhile had claimed months ago that he would have no problem playing out the season with Chelsea, but given the impasse over his contract with the club, it seemed more likely that he would play it safe as well.
But, as it turns out, they’ve both chosen loyalty and good vibes over cold business and harsh realities, and hopefully that will turn out excellently for all involved (i.e. top four finish and an FA Cup trophy).
Questions do still remain over whether either player will be eligible to represent Chelsea in August, when (barring a miracle comeback from 3-0 down) our last remaining 2019-20 Champions League match, the second leg against Bayern Munich in the Round of 16, is set to take place.
Initial reports claimed that they would not be eligible — similarly to how Timo Werner won’t be representing RB Leipzig. Chelsea’s official announcement claimed that they would be. On Wednesday, reports in Italy (GdS via Sport Witness) claimed that at least Pedro will not be, because he will have already joined Roma by then and would be preparing with his new teammates for the new season (again, like Werner).
So which one is true? Perhaps it will depend on whether they will have secured their next moves by then, which in Pedro’s case is almost true now but in Willian’s case remains a big unknown (which does leave open the opportunity to re-sign with Chelsea as well).
The ultimate decision may not matter as much as for the Premier League. Chelsea are unlikely to overturn the 3-0 first leg deficit against Bayern, to say the least, although when it comes to Miracles and Munich, there is precedence...