Former Chelsea star Willian wanted by ambitious Premier League side in shock swoop helped by key clause

Willian representing Corinthians during March 2022

Former Chelsea and Arsenal winger Willian could get the chance to represent a third Premier League club from London, according to reports.

It is claimed by Goal that the Brazilian player is the subject of negotiations with Fulham, who have returned to the Premier League for this season after their promotion. In addition to loan deals for Manor Solomon and Shane Duffy, they have made four notable permanent signings so far: Joao Palhinha, Andreas Pereira, Kevin Mbabu and Bernd Leno.

Pereira and Leno are particularly interesting signings, since they have played for clubs in the top six of the Premier League before. Now, another signing in that mould could in theory materialise at Craven Cottage.

According to Goal, Fulham want to sign Willian from Corinthians in his native Brazil. There is a release clause in his contract that would allow him to return to a European club. Its value is not specified in the report.

Negotiations over the terms of a transfer have commenced. The report suggests Willian would be open to returning to London, where he lived for nine years.

It must be said that his form in the past couple of years has not been particularly encouraging. He left Arsenal with just one goal to his name from 37 appearances.

Since returning to former club Corinthians, Willian has managed another solitary goal from 44 appearances. Turning 34 years old next week, concerns that he is past his prime may be justified.

But Fulham are keeping him in mind as they seek to replace the qualities that Fabio Carvalho gave them in attacking midfield before he left for Liverpool.

Willian move for Fulham could have risks and rewards

Willian would be a high-profile, more experienced successor. He previously enjoyed particular success with Chelsea, in whose colours he contributed 61 goals and 62 assists from 337 appearances.

Whether he is the same player any more is another question. But in the short-term, if the wage package is right, a player of Willian’s experience might be beneficial for Fulham’s mentality.

They have suffered relegation straight back down to the Championship the last two times they came up. Their summer activity so far has been promising, though. So they will be hoping to put together a squad capable of Premier League survival.

Willian knows what it takes to compete in the top flight, although the concept of a relegation battle would be new to him. Hence, the experience he would bring may not be specific to Fulham’s needs – or it might be beneficial in helping them think bigger, even if they can’t strive to the levels he used to play at.

Overall, a potential purchase of Willian may come with some risks for a club like Fulham. But he is certainly a high-profile target for a team of that level. So it could be an exciting one if it goes through.