Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has this evening discussed Willian’s contract situation, as well as the Brazilian’s importance to his side.
31-year-old winger Willian has been on the books of Chelsea since 2013, when he made the move to Stamford Bridge from Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala.
And the gifted South American has since gone on to establish himself as a key contributor for the Blues, racking up over 300 appearances across his 6+ seasons in London.
The 2017/18 campaign proved particularly fruitful for the former Shakhtar Donetsk man, with Willian having notched 13 goals and 12 assists in 55 outings across all competitions.
The Lampard effect
However, despite the 69-time capped international’s near ever-present role for the capital outfit, large sections of Chelsea’s fanbase have never truly taken to Willian.
The Corinthians youth product’s inconsistencies last season, meanwhile, often saw him singled out for heavy criticism.
Willian has to go. No hating but his chelsea career is done out here transfer ban or not.
— Elias (@Everymonday6) April 13, 2019
The early months of the current campaign, however, have seen new life breathed into Willian’s performances.
The experienced attacker has been handed a new lease of life by Frank Lampard, looking reinvigorated, dangerous in front of goal and, crucially, fully committed to the Chelsea cause.
This comes despite his contract being due to expire in less than 12 months’ time.
‘Love him at this football club’
As such, speaking earlier today, Frank Lampard was drawn on Willian’s deal at Stamford Bridge, and the possibility of the Brazilian extending his stay in the English capital.
The Chelsea boss, though, admitted that, as things stand, he remains largely in the dark regarding Willian’s intentions:
‘The word isn’t “no brainer” because I can’t get involved in the money. That’s up to the club to do. But everyone sees how much I’m relying on him, and picking him and in what he is producing. I love him at this football club. So there’s my answer.’
Lampard continued by heaping praise on his former teammate, labelling Willian an ‘outstanding example’ for the younger members of his squad:
‘I know his qualities from playing with him. But when I looked at Willy over the last couple of years, he was in and out of the team. You’re not sure, from the outside, I want to see him happy. Willy is a happy, easy-going lad who loves his football and that was the first thing I said to him at the start of the season.’
‘I saw him being huge in the way I wanted to play. Naturally, on the ball, we all know his ability to go by, one v one, and shift people and cross or get shots away. But his off-the-ball work is an outstanding example for Callum Hudson-Odoi, for Christian Pulisic, for other young players who think the only part of the game is going by people, crossing or shooting.’
Quotes via Goal