Why Arteta Wants Willian by AI
“You can’t win anything with kids,” goes the popular line. And as it is with stereotypes and sayings, there’s a truism in it.
A lot of different things are going to be shaking in the transfer window marble-box and one of the marbles that have fallen out for Arsenal is Willian on a free transfer. Many baulk at the option of signing a 31-year-old Chelsea reject on a three year long deal. What if he was useful in the first year, the argument goes, then turns out completely useless in the second? What if he becomes another Mesut Ozil? Is he even good enough?
We are not completely sure about Arteta’s planned squad roles for next season, but if there’s one that might be under serious consideration, it would be Aubameyang in the central role. Aubameyang through the middle is a move that changes the context of everything. If Aubameyang is to play centrally next season, does it mean that Lacazette would be sold? Will he or the club settle for him in a substitute role? Who would play on the left?
The last question has two internal answers to it: Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka. Both options sound good enough but is it really good enough for Champions League football next season? Could Arsenal feature more experienced and dependable EPL legs on the left next season?
Everyone wants to play the kids. But not all the kids are Mbappé. Granted, both Martinelli and Saka have done very well for this season, but they are still a couple of 18-year-olds at the end of the day. And young players deal with a lot of highs and lows. Is Arsenal ready to give Bukayo Saka 30+ appearances and all the insane pressure and risk that comes with it?
Arteta has not hidden the fact that he wants more experienced players next season and he has good reasons for this demand. Willian on a free fits the bill. And the rumours about the wages indicate that they’d be no more than Sead Kolasinac is taking home, with a lot of incentivizing bonuses atop. Could Arteta get more out of Willian? Possibly.
Willian will be playing next to England’s deadliest attacker in Aubameyang, who is a world-class striker. It has been a while since Willian has had that kind of luxury.
It all boils down to his experience. Willian is more dependable than our youngsters on a week-in, week-out basis, despite the many worries about Willian coming to Arsenal at his age. Given that we trust our coach who has shown that he can improve individual output, maybe we should trust that he has a good plan for Willian?
Those wages would be forgotten next season if we get into the Champions League. And with the plan to offload several players off the books, it would be absolutely crazy to deny ourselves of what is a relatively cheap signing.
Don’t worry, between injuries, fatigue, suspensions, the Europa League, the Premier League and other domestic competitions, both Martinelli and Saka will get plenty of games to continue their development.
Mikel Arteta knows what he is doing, and it is better anyway if we kept the pressure off them.