EPL

Willian eager to remain in London as Chelsea contract nears expiration

By Sports Desk February 20, 2020

Willian has hinted he will look to find another London-based club to play for if he and Chelsea do not agree to a contract extension, as he is desperate to remain in the English capital for family reasons.

Brazil winger Willian has been at Chelsea since 2013, when he joined from Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, and he has been a first-team regular for most of his time at Stamford Bridge.

Willian has played in all but one of Chelsea's 26 Premier League games this term, despite becoming a target for criticism from some supporters, with Frank Lampard seemingly trusting of the 31-year-old.

He claimed in December that contract talks have taken place regarding an extension beyond the end of the season, but with an agreement yet to be confirmed, doubt remains about his future, particularly after Chelsea agreed a deal to bring Ajax's Hakim Ziyech to the club in July.

While Willian seems set on staying at Chelsea, he is also adamant about a desire to remain in London, potentially offering hope to other clubs in the area should he ultimately depart.

Writing in a column for The Players' Tribune, Willian said: "I have played for Chelsea for more than six years now, and I can honestly say that I am very happy here.

"If you ask my wife if she wants to leave London, she'll say no. My daughters feel the same way. Of course, Brazil is Brazil, right? It's our home, our culture. We always feel good when we go there on holiday and see family and friends, but London is my second home.

"In fact, I recently passed a British citizenship test. Man, it was hard. It's British history in a nutshell. Some questions are so difficult that not even some of my British friends knew the answers!

"As it turned out, I failed on my first two attempts, but got it on the third. I am now a British citizen!

"So, London is where I want to stay. This is where I have my family, my church. I want my daughters to grow up here."

Related items

  • Bayern president expects transfer fees to dip after coronavirus pandemic Bayern president expects transfer fees to dip after coronavirus pandemic

    Bayern Munich president Herbert Hainer expects a significant decrease in transfer fees following the coronavirus pandemic.

    Deals worth in excess of €100million have been commonplace in the past four years, with Neymar becoming the world's most expensive player when he joined Paris Saint-Germain for €222m in August 2017.

    Bayern have been more conservative but broke their transfer record by splashing out €80m on Lucas Hernandez last year.

    Links to Leroy Sane and Timo Werner led to suggestions the Bavarian giants were willing to break the bank again, but Hainer believes the inflation in the market will have been stemmed by the proliferation of COVID-19.

    Revenues have dried up for clubs across the world, with players at Bayern, Barcelona, Juventus and Atletico Madrid among those to take pay cuts while football is on hiatus.

    Asked about the potential impact of the coronavirus crisis on transfer fees, Hainer told Bayern's 51 magazine: "As I said, although serious predictions are difficult to make, it's obvious there'll be changes. I agree with Uli Hoeness' assumption that transfer fees will decrease. That's just logical.

    "When income decreases, there's less money in circulation. And given the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis on people's everyday lives, outrageous sums in the millions are even less justifiable than they already were.

    "My hope is that more common sense will be applied here as well. I have to take my hat off to Hasan Salihamidzic and our sporting leadership. They're handling the coronavirus situation very well."

    Bayern players agreed to a 20 per cent wage reduction during the Bundesliga suspension, which is scheduled to last until at least April 30.

    Hainer acknowledged the situation has put clubs in precarious financial positions, but he is confident Bayern will be able to get through the crisis without "any major damage".

    "Of course, the situation is very tense. It's about the existence of individual clubs. And even FC Bayern faces a major financial challenge – that's no secret," said Hainer.

    "But our club is in an excellent position. We work day after day to ensure that FC Bayern can navigate through this phase without any major damage.

    "Despite this immense task, we're looking to the future with confidence."

  • Coronavirus: Serie A season could finish in October, suggests FIGC chief Coronavirus: Serie A season could finish in October, suggests FIGC chief

    Serie A clubs could be allowed to finish the 2019-20 season as late as October, according to Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina.

    Italy's top flight was suspended indefinitely last month due to the spread of coronavirus, and the FIGC stated on Friday that the season would not be resumed until the health and safety of all concerned could in some way be guaranteed.

    Italy has been the country hardest hit by COVID-19 in Europe, with close to 129,000 confirmed cases and more than 15,800 deaths, although official figures over recent days have indicated strict lockdown measures are having an effect on the spread of the virus.

    Gravina says the proposed date of May 17 to restart Serie A remains a possibility, but he insists it would be best to allow 2019-20 to finish much later this year if necessary, rather than declare the season cancelled.

    "It's a hypothesis," Gravina told RAI when asked if a September or October finish had been put forward. "At the moment, a possible date to restart could be May 17, but I want to clarify that this is only a hypothesis.

    "Finishing the season would be the best way not only so the 2019-20 season is not compromised, but also to avoid compromising the 2020-21 season in any way."

    There are signs Italy's stringent measures to enforce social distancing and limit all non-essential travel are working, with the number of new deaths falling over the past three days, while the rate of confirmed new cases also appears to be going down.

    However, prime minister Giuseppe Conte admitted earlier on Sunday that he cannot offer any guarantee when lockdown measures will be eased.

    "Right now, I can't say when the lockdown will end. We are following the directions of the scientific committee, but Italy was the first nation [in Europe] to face the emergency," Conte said.

    "Our response was maybe not perfect, but we have done our best based on the knowledge we have.

    "The validity of the measures we have taken has been recognised by the World Health Organization and the results indicate we're on the right path."

  • Argentina has a passion that Italy cannot match, says De Rossi Argentina has a passion that Italy cannot match, says De Rossi

    Daniele De Rossi said playing for Boca Juniors showed him Argentina has a passion for football that Italy cannot match, describing the club's La Bombonera stadium as "absurd and sensational".

    The 36-year-old, who retired from football in January, opened up about the experience of ending his career at Boca, whom he joined on a free transfer in July 2019 when his contract at Roma expired.

    He made just five appearances for Boca in the Superliga before cancelling his contract and returning to Italy to be with his family early in the new year, but said he had no regrets about the move.

    "I would need a whole quarantine to describe the emotions I experienced in those six months," the 2006 World Cup winner told Sky Sport.

    "It is a unique place, very similar to Italy - more than we think, also because half of them are of Italian origin. They live on passion for anything, from food to music, to a passion for football.

    "It's a championship that can be technically and tactically discussed, but in six months I haven't seen a player pulling back his leg or not giving 200 per cent."

    De Rossi scored on his Boca debut, in a 1-1 draw and penalty shoot-out defeat to Almagro in the Copa Argentina.

    In March it was announced he would receive a league winner's medal after Boca clinched the Superliga title, giving him an honour he failed to achieve in 18 years as a Roma player.

    But it was the atmosphere at La Bombonera that De Rossi said he would treasure above all else.

    "It is not about being a ruffian, which I don't like," he said. "But the most beautiful thing is what you see in the stands.

    "It is a warmth that we no longer have in Italy: it is pure and selfless passion.

    "La Bombonera is the most absurd and sensational stadium in the world. I wish all fans to be able to visit it during a Boca match.

    "I feel privileged to have played there, even if it didn't last long."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.