In his Friday pre-match press conference, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho confirmed that the West London club have agreed to sign Brazilian attacking midfielder Willian, pending a medical examination, according to Tom Davis of Goal.com.
For a club so blessed in attacking talent to make such an audacious last-minute swoop for a player who will come with a considerable price tag suggests that there is a clear idea of how he can improve the side. We will have to wait and see just what that plan is.
Chelsea fans will only be too aware of what Willian can offer to their side. During his time at Shakhtar Donetsk, which came to an abrupt end in January, the attacking midfielder scored a Champions League brace at Stamford Bridge only last season.
If used correctly, he can be a devastating presence in his midfield role—although he has always been more of a creative force than a natural goalscorer.
In his early days in Brazil, Willian was used as a more central attacking midfielder, with the full-backs predominantly used to give the side width. At Anzhi, he had been used as a central playmaker in the Russian Premier League.
At Shakhtar, though, his best work was done in a left midfield role, with compatriot Jadson used centrally for most of his time at the club.
Despite placing him wide, Shakhtar's dynamic passing game allowed Willian to influence games on a regular basis. Offering a different angle to the creative work, he provided a second outlet to the side, while either Alex Teixeira or Douglas Costa were more direct attacking options on the right.
His signing will offer Mourinho fantastic options in attack to add to his already plentiful resources. Either from the left or the centre, Willian can help Chelsea achieve the fast-paced, attack-dominated playing style that Roman Abramovich craves at Stamford Bridge.
How the rest of Chelsea's attacking options will be reshuffled to allow his arrival in the side remains to be seen. Will a current first-team player depart? Who will be dropped? Many questions remain unanswered.
What is clear, though, is that you don't part with €37 million to secure a squad player when he is on the verge of joining a rival side where he would have been a clear first choice, per Goal.com. Willian has to be a regular feature given the circumstances of his arrival.
Adaptation should not be an issue. Chelsea have a number of Brazilian players amid their ranks, play much more of a possession-based game than in recent years and, of course, have many Portuguese speakers among the coaching staff.
Willian will offer more of the same for Chelsea. He is a good dribbler with terrific pace and an eye for a pass. At 25, though, he offers the experience of high-level competition as well as the knowledge that his best years are still to come.
What fans should not expect, though, is Willian to provide a lot of goals. Since arriving in Europe, he has not scored more than five in a league season and would be unlikely to suddenly discover a scoring touch in London.
He will, though, complement the talents of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Juan Mata. Perhaps he can also help take some of the creative burden to allow his teammates to focus more on goalscoring contributions.
It is an unusual transfer—and one that has come about in unusual circumstances—but there can be no doubting his talents, even if the Brazilian is not even able to make his own national side.
We will have answers to how he will fit at the club in due course, with Chelsea's transfer activity ahead of the September 2 deadline likely to be a major indication.
Willian has long expressed his desire to move to the Premier League, and now, following a brief sojourn in Russia, he looks set to finally make his move.