On various blogs, including this one, doubts have been raised about the need to sign Willian on a free. From a pure football-technical point of view, I can only see benefits in signing him on a free. He offers experience of winning the league which very few Arsenal players can say they do (only his fellow countryman Luiz if I am remember rightly). Willian is sixth best key-pass-deliver in the PL and scored nine PL goals and produced seven PL assist in just 2600 minutes of football last season.
I like Nelson and I am sure he has a bright future, but Arteta will want to move on next season and he cannot say no to an experienced PL player at the top of his game. Nelson will get chances, either at Arsenal or on loan, but he will have to convince Arteta that he can deliver the goods in every game he plays. Willian has a great work ethic and will revel at Arsenal, using his experience to help us make the difference when it matters. Signing him up for three years and for Nelson to compete with him with the aim to usurp the Brazilian eventually makes perfect sense to me. Yes he became 32 today but there are a couple of good years left in him, of that I am convinced.
Some have mentioned that we already have Pepe and Willian would play in his place, so it makes little sense to have him join Arsenal. But I say we need to strengthen our right flank for next season. Our left flank is looking awesome with the likes of Tierney, Saka, Martinelli and Auba combining so effectively, but something was still missing on our right flank. Putting Willian in midfield with the aim to link up with both Pepe and Bellerin looks like a great move to me.
As per these two teams below, Willian could add real value without Arteta having to bench an experienced player. 4-3-3 looks perhaps too attacking but if Saka and Willian are drilled properly on their defensive and positional responsibilities it could work a treat.
I am a huge fan of 4-5-1 and Willian would once again fit perfectly in this formation. Against any of our top-four competitors this would give us both great protection of the defence and great midfield/passing/attacking play.
I don’t think Arteta’s vision is to continue playing a 3-4-3 formation for long, but say he is planning to do so Willian would still fit in. I strongly feel that Pepe would be most effective through the middle so he can much better find time and space to trigger his left lethal foot. With Auba on the left, Pepe central and Willian on the right wing, but with a license to roam centrally, we could be on to a much more effective attack:
Arsenal are desperate to get more goals from midfield and Willian would be just the player to do that. Nelson can learn from him, Pepe will benefit from the quality link-up play and on-field coaching. Ceballos will learn from him (if indeed he stays). Saka, Willock, ESR will all learn from him. Auba will get great service. We will get an extra 12-18 PL goals/assists a season. What’s not to like?!
So for me it is a no-brainer: Willian to Arsenal would be great news.