Football expert Gabriele Marcotti has claimed that the signing of Willian only makes sense if Alexandre Lacazette leaves Arsenal this summer.
The Brazilian is hotly tipped to sign at the Emirates in the coming week, having said his goodbyes to previous club Chelsea today, and is expected to sign a three-year deal worth around £100,000 per week.
His arrival could well see Arsenal field a front three with a combined age of 92 at the start of next season, with some hefty wages being outlaid for the trio, but football expert Marcotti believes Lacazette could make way following Willian’s signature.
“What I would be concerned about is that Arsenal are going to be in the same situation with Lacazette in a years’ time,” Marcotti told Sky Sports.
“He’s 29 years old and has one more year on his contract than Aubameyang.
“When you add in that Arsenal may sign Willian on a three-year deal, that is a lot of money to commit to attacking players who are or will be in their 30s.
“It is a ton of money to lay out. It seems strange to do that when Arsenal have youngsters like Saka, Martinelli and (Eddie) Nketiah, who they presumably want to grow.
“Mikel Arteta is on an upward trajectory, but he needs time, so it makes even less sense to put your resources in older players at this stage.
“It seems an odd and unusual approach the club are taking, unless they are planning to sell Lacazette, but we don’t know that.”
Laca has been one of a number of players to make huge improvements since working under Mikel Arteta, and one who I don’t think I’d be happy to see leave just yet, but his contract situation could well be an issue.
Arsenal will have to decide on whether to sign him down to a new deal, or cash-in inside the next 12 months, but allowing him to leave next summer would mean accepting a lower transfer fee for the striker.
Willian and Pepe will most likely have been given assurances over their playing time in order to have signed, and both are deserving of regular playing time also, which could well mean a return to playing centrally for Aubameyang, as well a reduced role if Laca did stay beyond the summer.
Given thought, Lacazette could well be the biggest casualty of a deal for Willian, although the Brazilian could well be drafted in to play as a AM in a 4-2-3-1 system like he has previously.
Will a deal for Willian raise doubt over the future of Lacazette?