Willian to Arsenal transfer ‘foreshadows’ one of two major Gunners stars quitting club

Willian’s expected arrival at Arsenal could foreshadow the imminent exit of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Alexandre Lacazette, European football expert Gab Marcotti has suggested. The Gunners are set to clinch a deal to bring in Willian from Chelsea on a free transfer this month.

The Brazilian, who turns 32 this weekend, is expected to be given a three-year deal after his current club refused to table an extension longer than two years.

Willian was one of the stars of the Premier League restart and despite his age managed nine goals and seven assists in 36 top-flight appearances in 2019-20.

But Mikel Arteta already has an abundance of options despite the South American’s versatility, including Aubameyang, Lacazette, Nicolas Pepe, Eddie Nketiah, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Reiss Nelson.

And Marcotti has theorised that Willian’s anticipated Emirates switch could signal that one of Aubameyang or Lacazette will be off.

Arsenal are in talks to get top goalscorer Aubameyang to pen a new contract but talks over a renewal for Atletico Madrid-linked centre forward Lacazette, who has two years left to run on his current deal, have yet to begin.

“I don’t understand the logic here,” Marcotti told the Gab and Juls Podcast on ESPN about the deal to sign Willian.

“You’re in this situation, you’ve asked players to take a pay cut and everything…

“Willian ended the season very well but the fact of the matter is Willian, Aubameyang, Lacazette – Auba 31, Lacazette will turn 30 soon, you’re going to have to renew him or sell him as well.

“And you’ve got kids, you’ve got Saka, Martinelli, Nketiah. You’re rebuilding, I don’t see the logic adding all these veterans.

“It’s almost like they’ve learned nothing from the [Mesut] Ozil and [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan situation.

“I wonder if Willian’s signing foreshadows either Aubameyang or Lacazette leaving.”

Arsenal are said to be increasingly optimistic of tying Aubameyang down to a three-year deal worth £250,000 a week after recent talks.

But transfer expert Fabrizio Romano insists the 29-goal frontman would still be keen on a move to Barcelona were the Catalan giants to show any late interest.

“They’re talking and it’s up to Aubameyang because the contract was offered to him many months ago,” Romano told the Beautiful Game Podcast of Arsenal.

“For Aubameyang, they offered him an important contract and he’s going to decide soon.

“Arteta is working every day to try and convince him, they want him to stay absolutely and they’re trying in every way.

“I’m told also that in this moment Aubameyang was waiting to see if other top clubs can offer him a contract like Barcelona if they don’t get Lautaro [Martinez] or other clubs.

“At the moment, no one made a big for Aubameyang. The hope of Arsenal is to wait one week, two weeks or three weeks and that he’ll say ‘Okay, I’ll stay here. The club wants me and the manager wants me and I feel important for this club.’

“That is the hope of Arsenal but at the moment he has no other bid but he hopes for Barcelona.”

Arteta has always remained confident of keeping Aubameyang and said after last weekend’s FA Cup win over Chelsea: “Everything is based on my conversations with him, how he sees his future, what I expect from him, the team I want to build around him and the conversations I have with the people that are very influential around him.

“We all respect him, we admire him. We know the players we have and we have to value him. If we reach all of those points I think we’ll get an agreement.”

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