Chelsea Transfer News: Willian Must Be Forced to Earn Starting Spot with Blues
Chelsea deserve credit for winning the race to Willian's signature. He was a coveted commodity on the transfer market, and the Blues stepped up to land him. That doesn't mean he should be automatically guaranteed a spot in the starting 11 though.
The club officially announced the signing on Wednesday after the talented attacking midfielder was granted a work permit. He signed a five-year contract with Chelsea, where he will join an already crowded midfield group.
On completing his move, Willian said:
I'm very happy to be here, it's been a dream of mine to come and play here.
Chelsea are one of the best clubs in the world, and now I'm going to play for one of the best managers in the world, so I'm very happy and looking forward to it.
In most cases, high-profile signings like Willian are handed a direct ticket into the starting lineup. After all, if a club was willing to spend a sizable amount of transfer funds on them, they are going to want return on that investment.
Chelsea are a special case though. Jose Mourinho already has a very talented midfield at his disposal, including a strong group of players who have proven their worth to Chelsea in recent seasons. So it wasn't like upgrades were an absolute must.
While the Blues have continued their efforts to bolster the striker depth, there was already plenty of midfield depth. Eden Hazard, Oscar, Juan Mata, Kevin De Bruyne and the reliable veteran Frank Lampard were all in place. Andre Schuerrle has also played a wing role since his arrival.
Adding Willian to the group gives Mourinho outstanding depth to choose from in the middle of the pitch, which is key, especially while active in multiple competitions. But the new arrival should be forced to earn his spot in the main starting 11.
Since Chelsea have such a busy schedule on the horizon, with Premier League and Champions League play highlighting their campaign, there should be a rotation that keeps everybody involved. Injuries will also arise during the season of course.
What type of player will Willian be for Chelsea?
But a starting lineup that gets the call in all the key matches will emerge. Willian must prove early in his stay with Chelsea that he deserves one of those coveted spots over the likes of Mata, De Bruyne and a host of others.
After a very successful stay with Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk, where he first looked like a potential asset for top European clubs, he moved to Anzhi Makhachkala. The results weren't as promising as he failed to find top form in just 15 matches with the Russian club.
Playing alongside a more talented group at Chelsea should allow him to get his career back on track. But he shouldn't be handed anything. If he isn't able to showcase that Shakhtar form right away, Mourinho shouldn't shy away from leaving him out of the starting 11 until he does.
All told, it's going to become a delicate balancing act for Mourinho in the coming months. Willian is just another piece of the puzzle and should have to earn his spot, not simply be handed one because he was a major signing.
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