Willian has revealed that he intends to finish the Premier League season with Chelsea, regardless of whether his contract at Stamford Bridge expires before the top-flight fixture list is completed. The Brazilian star is a free agent at the end of the current campaign, with negotiations having broken down after Chelsea refused to meet his wage demands.
And now Willian is one among thousands of players who could be out of contract before the final matches of the season have been played after the coronavirus outbreak postponed sporting events around the world.
The Premier League is not due to restart until April 4 at the earliest, meaning games are likely to continue through the summer and beyond the usual contract expiry date of June 30.
However, there has been a suggestion that clubs will be able to offer short-term extensions to cover this unprecedented scenario and Willian is adamant he will remain a Chelsea player until the end of the league campaign – regardless of any contract.
Speaking to Esporte Interativo on a live Facebook chat, Willian said: “My contract really ends, I think in July.
“And if I had to play on those dates, in these months, I think it would be no problem for me to end the league in a way which would be loyal to the club, as they always were with me. Regardless of a signed paper.
“But it’s clear that this is not a certainty, we don’t know what can happen. But without a doubt, as always, I will always be ready to give the best to my club regardless of my contract situation.”
Willian looks certain to leave after the culmination of the current campaign after failing to agree terms over a new deal at Chelsea.
The Stamford Bridge club have broken away from their informal policy to offer the 31-year-old a two-year extension, having previously rarely tabled anything other than 12-month additions for those over 30.
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But Willian has rejected the package because the Brazil international is seeking a pay rise and a three-year deal.
The winger and his family are keen to stay in London so he now looks most likely to join Arsenal or reunite with former boss Jose Mourinho at Tottenham Hotspur.
When asked if there had been any developments in contract talks with Chelsea, Willian said: “No, nothing new, No news.
“Especially after what’s happening, everything stopped. But so far no news about anything.”
Pedro, Olivier Giroud and Willy Caballero are also out of contract at the end of the season.
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Giroud may well have done enough to earn an extension in recent weeks, but the other two veterans are expected to move on to pastures new.
Meanwhile, the Chelsea squad are currently following government guidelines and self-isolating in a bid to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Blues youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi became the first Premier League star to contract the virus when he was diagnosed last Friday.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta also tested positive while three Leicester players were self-isolating after displaying symptoms of COVID-19.
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