Jose Mourinho needs to offload Erik Lamela to free up wages for Willian
The Argentine who joined the club in 2013, is an excellent footballer who has both ability and poise. After enjoying a good start to life at the lane, persistent injuries have held him back from reaching his full potential.
Mourinho has a good relationship with Willian, who he brought to England while at Chelsea. Although in his 30s, the Brazilian has a couple of seasons in him. Given the financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, getting a player of his ability for free should not be taken lightly.
However, the Portuguese tactician will need to sell in order to buy in the upcoming window. Club chairman Daniel Levy is not prepared to sanction the signing of Willian, who earns £120,000-a-week.
Money is tight and Levy reckons the North Londoners already have a surplus of wide players. With the likes of Lamela, Son Heung-Min, Lucas Moura, Ryan Sessegnon, Moussa Sissoko and Steven Bergwijn at the club, the chairman has a point.
Given Lamela’s injury troubles, it would make sense to sacrifice him if it comes to that. There is no doubting the Argentine’s ability to make a difference. However, his inability to make it to the pitch renders it moot.
He has made 213 appearances for the club while scoring 33 goals and 47 assists. Troublingly, he has also missed 97 games due to injury, 12 of which came this season. (h/t Transfermarkt)
At the same time, Willian has made 329 appearances while missing just four games due to injury (h/t Transfermarkt)
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Willian is also a versatile player like Lamela. Although primarily deployed on the wings, he is capable of playing elsewhere as well.
The Brazilian could prove to be an astute signing. Whether the club pursues him or not remains to be seen.