FRANK LAMPARD’S FA Cup Final plans have been thrown into turmoil over the future of Brazilian star Willian.
Chelsea’s boss faces a massive selection headache following a bombshell announcement by his agent amid interest in the winger from Saturday’s opponents Arsenal.
Willian’s agent has confirmed two concrete offers from Premier League clubs[/caption]
Willian, 31, is out of contract at the end of this season and his advisor revealed the player has a concrete offer on the table from one of Chelsea’s Premier League rivals.
Arsenal are red-hot favourites to snap up long-serving Willian who has been demanding a three year deal to stay on.
Willian’s wife dropped a big hint on Instagram back in March by writing: ‘it’s not been easy but good things are on the way’ at the same time picturing the couple’s two daughters wearing red – Arsenal’s colours.
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Chelsea were hopeful they had made a breakthrough in talks this week and optimistic a deal could be struck in time for this weekend’s glamour match.
But Willian’s representative insists no decision will be made until AFTER the game – leaving head coach Lampard the dilemma of whether to pick a key player to face a team he may be joining in just a couple of weeks’ time.
Advisor Kia Joorabchian said: “We had two very big offers – one from the MLS which required him to move on July 1 – but he’s always been in the same mode, saying, ‘I want to finish the season at Chelsea and the day after the season has finished I will make my decision’.
Arsenal are known to be strong suitors for Willian[/caption]
“He has two concrete offers from Premier League clubs on the table, he has an MLS offer on the table which is very big, and he’s got two other offers in Europe
“So Willian is in a very good position and he is going to make his decision after the last game of the season.”
Chelsea travel to Germany to face Bayern Munich on Saturday week in a Champions League last-16 second leg – trailing 3-0.
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Willian looks likely to become a free agent immediately after and free to sign for Arsenal, although Tottenham and Manchester United have also been linked with him during the past few months.
Lampard has gone public with his desire for Willian to be given a new contract – seeing the veteran as an experienced figure in the team to help his young players.
But the player, who snubbed Spurs at the last minute to sign for Chelsea back in 2013, also played a big role in securing a top-four finish this season.
Frank Lampard must decide if he will play Willian against his potential new club in the FA Cup final[/caption]
He is still regarded as one of Chelsea’s best and most dynamic players since the restart of the season – scoring three goals.
Chelsea do have a friendlier rivalry with Arsenal than with some other clubs.
They allowed legendary keeper Petr Cech to join Arsenal as a gesture of goodwill following the arrival of Thibaut Courtois at Stamford Bridge six years ago.
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Arsenal returned the favour by letting Cech play in goal against Chelsea in last season’s Europa League final just before he retired to take up a post as performance and technical advisor with his former team.
But both these scenarios are vastly different to the one facing Chelsea and Lampard with just four days to go until one of the biggest games in world football.
Willian missed last Sunday’s 2-0 Premier League win over Wolves but is expected to be fit to play by this weekend and would almost certainly start the match in normal circumstances.