For the past several months, it looked like Willian’s time at Chelsea was over. He was standing firm on his three-year renewal demand and Chelsea were only willing to offer a two-year extension, which already represented a halfway point between the player’s demands and the club’s usual policy of single-year contracts for players over 30.
But things appear to have changed over the last few days, and not just because no one’s saying goodbye to Willian just yet, unlike Pedro.
According to a report from Sky Sports “a breakthrough has been achieved over a new contract”, and Willian could be putting pen to paper this week. There is no indication of which of the sides budged, but we can presume it was Willian, to meet the club halfway.
Willian had generated some transfer interest for a potential free move this summer, but it’s unlikely that any of Arsenal, Spurs, Barcelona, Manchester United would’ve offered bigger or longer terms. Inter Miami might have, but Willian didn’t want to retire to MLS just yet.
Besides the market, family might have been a factor as well. Willian’s made it abundantly clear that he wanted to stay in London.
These developments will certainly delight manager Frank Lampard, who was eager to see Willian stay at Chelsea beyond the season. He certainly appreciates Willian’s effort and consistency on the pitch, both in terms of attacking output and ability to stay healthy — though ironically Willian did miss the game on Sunday with a minor knock. He’s expected back for the FA Cup final and probably in a starting role, and maybe with a new contract in hand, too!