'Madness': Garth Crooks slams Chelsea FC's decision to sell Willian to Arsenal
BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks slams Chelsea FC's decision to sell Willian to Arsenal
Chelsea FC’s decision to sell Willian to Arsenal was “madness”, according to BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks.
The Gunners signed the experienced Brazil international on a free transfer from Chelsea FC in the summer transfer window following months of transfer speculation.
Chelsea FC refused to offer Willian a new three-year contract, leading the 32-year-old to run down his deal at the west London side.
Arsenal, on the other hand, were willing to meet the winger’s demands and Willian became the second player to match the switch from west London to north London in successive seasons.
Willian made two assists in Arsenal’s 3-0 victory over Fulham in their Premier League opener on Saturday afternoon to earn rave reviews.
Former Spurs striker and BBC Sport pundit Crooks was surprised by Chelsea FC’s decision to allow Willian to move to their direct rival, adding that the west London side could be left to rue the transfer at the end of the 2020-21 campaign.
“Regular readers will know what I think of Willian as a player,” Crooks wrote in his BBC Sport column.
“I said last season that Chelsea could not afford to lose him. To let him go to London rivals Arsenal, of all teams, was madness and could cost them dearly in the final analysis.
“Against a Fulham side who were out of their depth, Willian produced a debut performance that must have been an agonising watch for his former manager Frank Lampard.
“The Brazilian was merely finding his bearings with a free-kick that flew past Fulham keeper Marek Rodak and hit the post. He left Craven Cottage with two assists under his belt, and a 3-0 victory.
“What have Chelsea done?”
The 32-year-old scored nine times in 36 games in the Premier League last season as Willian contributed to Chelsea FC’s successful top-four bid.
Willian won two Premier League titles, the FA Cup, the League Cup and the Europa League during his spell at Stamford Bridge.
The Brazilian was one of four new signings at Arsenal this summer, including Gabriel Magalhaes, Pablo Mari, Cedric Soares, while Dani Ceballos arrived on loan.
Arsenal will take on London rivals West Ham United at The Emirates next weekend before the Gunners welcome defending champions Liverpool FC in their final league fixture in September.