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Chelsea Transfer News: Breaking Down What Willian Will Bring to Blues

GROZNY, RUSSIA - MAY 12: Oleg Ivanov (L) of FC Terek Grozny is challenged by Willian of FC Anzhi Makhachkala during the Russian Premier League match between FC Terek Grozny and FC Anzhi Makhachkala at the Akhmad-Arena Stadium on May 12, 2013 in Grozny, Russia.  (Photo by Sergey Rasulov Jr/Epsilon/Getty Images)
Epsilon/Getty Images
Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistSeptember 7, 2013

As the summer transfer window was winding down and responsible clubs sat back and enjoyed the haul they added earlier in the summer, Chelsea fans were in a panic. 

The team was mostly marked by excellent depth and world-class players, but one pressing need kept Blues fans tossing and turning as they tried to sleep at night—the need for another attacking midfielder. 

Sure, the club already had last season's dynamic trio of Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar. Yes, before Victor Moses was loaned to Liverpool, he was available as well. And don't forget about the signing of Andre Schurrle or Kevin de Bruyne returning from loan. 

No, this team needed more options out on the wing or at the No. 10, and Jose Mourinho and Roman Abramovich finally awoke to that fact, signing Willian from Anzhi Makhachkala in a £32 million deal and hijacking Tottenham's move for the winger in the process. 

Phew.

Okay, okay, so the last thing Chelsea seemed to need was another attacking midfielder. But now that Willian has arrived at Stamford Bridge, the question remains: What will he bring to the club?

Willian isn't going to bring goals, but he is a graceful, technically astute playmaker that will bring beauty and creativity to Chelsea's attack. While his natural position is probably on the left wing—currently occupied by Hazard, who isn't going anywhere—he can also play centrally or may be asked to play the opposite wing.

With both Juan Mata and Oscar best suited to play the No. 10—and Schurrle effective as a second striker—Willian could be shifted out to the right wing. 

A potent crosser with excellent pace and the ability to break down defenders off the dribble, Willian isn't a pure winger who will keep width and remain direct. He will drift inward, looking to create, and with Oscar and Mata quite flexible, expect to see plenty of interchanging and overlapping in the attack.

But his pace and ability to burst past defenders, seemingly at will, make him a nice fit for Mourinho's counter-attacking ways. Given the technically proficient players the Blues have in the attack, Chelsea can also shift into a more possession-based style if the game plan calls for it. 

Willian may not have been needed as much as, say, a Wayne Rooney to link up the attack at forward, but his class is unmistakable and Chelsea won't be the worse for his arrival. Well, at least not until the club inevitably sells Mata, their best player last year, and tries to explain why he was given a reduced role.

Just ask Real Madrid how much fun that can be after Los Blancos sold Mesut Ozil to Arsenal.

But if Willian quickly adjusts to Premier League play and a switch to the right wing, all will be forgiven, and the Premier League's deepest attack will be hard to stop. 

 

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