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Winger Willian on brink of switch to Arsenal

Chelsea star set for move across London as Gunners boss Mikel Arteta’s first signing of the summer

13 August, 2020 — By Steve Barnett

Brazilian ace Willian is set to sign a three-year deal to join Arsenal. Photo: Aleksandr Osipov

ARSENAL are expected to unveil Willian as their first signing of the summer in the next 24 hours.

The Brazilian midfielder will arrive on a free transfer after running down his contract at the Gunners’ London rivals Chelsea, but will set the club back a reported £100,000-a-week in wages.

Willian was eager to extend his seven-year stay at Stamford Bridge, but when the blues refused to offer the 32-year-old the three-year contract that he wanted, Arsenal swooped in to seal a deal.

Despite suffering with a niggling achilles injury, it is understood that Willian completed a medical on Tuesday and has now finalised the move across the capital.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta’s big rebuilding job isn’t going completely to plan, however.

Hopes of bringing midfielder Dani Ceballos back for a second loan season have stalled, with rumours suggesting that his parent club Real Madrid are now considering bringing the player in from the cold.

Ceballos became a key starter under Arteta, who was fully expecting to sign his Spanish compatriot again this summer – but this time with an option to buy worked into any deal.

Real Madrid are now said to be weighing up their options, with manager Zinedine Zidane potentially turning to 24-year-old Ceballos to revitalise an ageing midfield.

The Gunners could also miss out on their top target of the summer as negotiations with Atletico Madrid over Thomas Partey show few signs of making progress.

The Ghanian midfielder is keen on a move to the Emirates Stadium but Arsenal are unwilling to activate his €50million (£45m) release clause.

They have, instead, offered up the likes of Alexandre Lacazette or Matteo Guendouzi in part-exchange for the
27-year-old, but Atletico insist they will keep Partey unless his release clause is met.

And his reported £200,000-a-week wages certainly won’t speed up any potential deal.

Meanwhile, Arsenal fans will have to wait a little longer before seeing their team in the flesh again after it was confirmed on Wednesday that the Community Shield will be played behind closed doors.

The FA Cup winners will tackle Premier League champions Liverpool at Wembley on Saturday, August 29, in a 4.30pm kick-off.

It was suggested that the showdown could be the first to allow a limited number of supporters back into the stands since the coronavirus lockdown began back in March.

But the FA have abandoned their plans to use the fixture as a test, after other events in snooker and cricket were cancelled by the government.

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