In the friendly game against West Brom the other night, Manchester United did not put up a good show at the attacking end of the pitch, probably forcing the manager to think of bringing in reinforcements. While the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that clubs could have to deviate from their usual transfer saga, the managers across the board would be willing to bring in utility players as a free agent or a very low price.
France football (as cited by Marca) has stated that Man United have now joined the race to bring in Willian to Old Trafford. The source also reports that United are not the only club vying for the signature of the veteran forward, with Arsenal and Spurs also looking to rope in his services.
Would Willian be a decent signing for the Manchester team?
The Brazilian joined Chelsea in 2013 and has been a prolific servant of the club for an extended period. In all these years, he has played 226 matches in the Premier League and scored 33 goals. There is no denying the fact that Willian is a world-class talent and has gained immense experience plying his trade for a top side for such a long time.
The greatest virtue of the Brazil international is his versatility as he can be asked to play at several positions on the right side of the field. Even this season, Lampard has deployed him on the left at times, but it is not his natural position. Primarily a winger, he has also been a centre-forward as per the requirement of the team and at both the places, the 31-year-old has done a decent job.
The footballing intelligence of the ex-Anzhi man is remarkable as the intelligent runs he makes inside the penalty boxes often get the oppositions on the back-foot. His passing skill is also noteworthy, and even this season, Willian has successfully distributed the ball 83% of the times in the league. His tendency to dribble past the opposition players is remarkable, and he can deliver a pinpoint cross from the wings to the forwards. The Chelsea player is also a dead ball specialist, and we have seen him hit a few scorchers back in the day.
What would be his role at Manchester United?
Paul Pogba was thought to be the creative outlet in the midfield for the side when he was brought in with record money. However, the French superstar has failed to deliver on those promises. Unwilling to wait any further for the ex-Juventus man to hit top form, the management brought in Bruno Fernandes in the last transfer window, which has changed the complexion of the side. Moreover, Daniel James has also been the kind of player that managers like to have in their team and in a very short time, the Welshman has displayed his talents. However, it is fair to say that the squad still lacks depth as far as the creative players are concerned.
Willian has shown time and again that he knows how to dominate the opposition in English football and Man United would have an able player in the side with him. Admittedly, age has taken a toll on his speed, but he still has enough tricks up his sleeves to make a mark for the side. As a short term option, Manchester United would be blessed to have a player like him in the squad, but for that, they have to move ahead of their oppositions to bring him to the club.
Stats from Whoscored.