Just when it seemed all but sure that Brazilian attacking midfielder Willian would sign with and join Tottenham, Chelsea pulled off a last minute heist on their Premier League rivals as their last minute show of interest has now lead to them capturing the signature of Willian from Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala. All that stands in the way of Willian officially becoming a Chelsea player is being granted a United Kingdom work permit, something which seems like a forgone conclusion at this point.
With Willian all set to come in and play for Chelsea, the question now becomes whom on the current Chelsea squad will not only have to make way for Willian but who will be shown the door as a result of the arrival of Willian? The first player that comes to mind as potentially making way for Willian and being sold is Juan Mata. As I have previously profiled, it was rumored Mata was a player that Jose Mourinho was willing to sell the moment he came back to coach Chelsea. While this has been denied by Mourinho the fact that he decided to start Kevin De Bruyne in the opening league game over Mata spoke volumes.
The fact remains that no matter if Chelsea play either in a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 formation, it is hard to see how Mata fits into Mourinho’s plans given that unlike Willian, Mata is not an inverted winger, someone who plays out on the wing with his strong foot on the inside and is more of a natural goal scorer than a traditional winger. It is clear that with the likes of Willian, De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, and Andre Schurrle who can play that inverted winger position, Mata’s value to a Chelsea coached by Mourinho is not as high as it should be given his skill level.
Other than Juan Mata, another player whose Chelsea career is likely over with the acquisition of Willian is Demba Ba. While his exit has long been assumed to be a given with Willian coming into the team, Ba will see his playing time decrease. While they do not play the same position, the fact is that Chelsea have players that can assume and take over playing upfront as either the lone striker or as part of a two striker/forward alignment. The fact of the matter is that since Ba moved from Newcastle United to Chelsea back in January of this year he has not been the same player up front for Chelsea as he was for Newcastle.
A club like Chelsea with its deep pockets will always be in the mix to bring in talented players like Willian, but for certain players the arrival of such a player also signals that their days at the club are numbered. For Juan Mata and Demba Ba, one or both of them will likely be the ones shown the door with the arrival of the Brazilian.