After helping Chelsea past Watford in the Premier League, it is unfathomable that Willian will leave Stamford Bridge in three weeks
- Chelsea defeated Watford 3-0 at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Saturday
- Winger Willian will have no contract in three weeks and the extension talks have stalled
- The Blues are thought to be willing to offer Willian a two-year extension
- He still wants to climb to fourth place in the table three years after helping the club
It is illustrative of how high Frank Lampard Willian feels that the Brazilian has started in all five Chelsea games since football started again.
The 31-year-old winger has been the club’s most prolific attacker since the resumption, with four goals – all from set pieces – and an assist. It brings his total to 11 before the season, behind only Tammy Abraham, while only captain Cesar Azpilicueta and Mason Mount have started more games.
With all that in mind, it is so unfathomable that Willian will leave Stamford Bridge within three weeks. Calls about an extension are frozen.
Willian helped Chelsea on Saturday to beat Watford, but is out of contract within three weeks
Three weeks is of course long in football. More gigs like the one at Project Restart and who knows, maybe Chelsea will return to the table after all.
The view from inside Stamford Bridge is that they want to offer him a two-year extension. Given his obvious importance to Lampard, Willian believes he’s worth an extra 12 months. Given the evidence of his recent performances, a three-year contract doesn’t feel like asking for Earth.
No wonder London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham both take up positions.
Chelsea’s position makes sense. Christian Pulisic begins to produce the kind of displays that seem to make him the rightful heir to Eden Hazard’s abandoned throne. Callum Hudson-Odoi has had a tough season both on and off the pitch, but at the age of 19, England’s international is Chelsea’s future.
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard could offer Willian a new long-term contract with the club
Hakim Ziyech will be coming out of Ajax next season, while Chelsea is on the prowl for Bayer Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz.
If everything goes according to plan, Lampard will be well stocked for attacking midfielders in the next term. But isn’t there room for Willian? Lampard certainly seems to think so, given his reliance on his former teammate.
He was again at the forefront of Chelsea’s last win against Watford on Saturday night and scored from the spot in a 3-0 win. But more than just his goal, his influence on Lampard’s team remains tangible; his penetrating strides and running is still an integral part of Chelsea as it was when he arrived in 2013.
Once the dust settles, Chelsea’s season will be marked by the rise of Lampard’s youths. Mount, Abraham, Hudson-Odoi, Reece James, Billy Gilmour and Fikayo Tomori mean that Chelsea’s future is incredibly bright. But at the business end of the season, it is Chelsea’s old guard that has won her over. Olivier Giroud, who appeared to leave the club in January, took his second goal since restarting this cruise against Watford.
Giroud and Willian, 33, are by far two of the club’s older statesmen. Azpilicueta was the only other thirty-something to start on Saturday.
COMPETITION FACTS AND PLAYER REVIEWS
Chelsea (4-3-3): Kepa 7; James 7, Christensen 7, Zouma 7, Azpilicueta 7.5; Barkley 8, Kante 7 (Gilmour 78min), Mount 7.5 (Loftus-Cheek 76); Willian 7.5 (Hudson-Odoi 76), Giroud 7 (Abraham 76), Pulisic 7. Subs not used: Caballero, Rudiger, Alonso, Jorginho, Pedro. Scorers: Giroud 28, Willian 43 (pen), Barkley 90 + 2. Booked: none. Manager: Frank Lampard 7.5.
W.atford (4-2-3-1): Foster 6.5; Mariappa 6, Kabasele 6, Dawson 6, Femenia 6 (Cleverley 64, 5.5); Chalobah 6, Capoue 5 (Welbeck 58, 6.5); Sarr 6 (Pereyra 83), Doucoure 5.5, Hughes 5.5; Deeney 5.5 (Masina 64.5).
Subs not used: Gomes, Pedro, Holebas, Gray, Cathcart.
Booked: Capoue, Mariappa.
Manager: Nigel Pearson 6.
Referee: Kevin Friend 6.5
With the Champions League qualifying on the line, Lampard now needs results, and Chelsea’s older contingent time their run to perfection.
“I think it would always be important for the experienced players to play a big part,” said Lampard. “Academy players who get through is always a very good story, but you need the balance. As the season progresses, you rely on experienced players.
“Players like Willian and Giroud – the experienced players help the young players and the young players need to realize that there are levels they need to reach to improve.”
Another experienced member of Lampard’s team, Ross Barkley, seems to peak at the right time. He added the third goal against the Hornets and after an inconsistent Blues career so far, the midfielder seems to be winning his manager.
“Ross has been absolutely committed to the cause during and before closure,” Lampard added. “More to come, but his attitude was first-class.”