At the start of the 19/20 season, Chelsea F.C underwent a drastic change. First was the arrival of Christian Pulisic, then the permanent signing of Mateo Kovacic, and most imposingly, the transfer ban restricting any other transfers. Pundits and rival fans were riled up about the chance that Chelsea would sink down into the mid-table region, but Frank Lampard proved everyone wrong. He introduced the football world to an exciting youthful side with attacking football and versatility. With the rise of the youth revolution, the older players were pushed aside from the spotlight and the energetic youngsters were given the red carpet to show off their talent. Pedro and Willian, two players who have been with us for quite some time, have both confirmed their departure from Chelsea. As we say our final goodbyes, let’s take a walk down memory lane.
Pedro Rodriguez joined Chelsea in August of 2015 for around 21 million pounds after an illustrious showing at F.C Barcelona. At the Camp Nou, Pedro had already won three Champions Leagues, five La Liga titles, two FIFA Club World Cup titles, six Spanish Super Cup titles, five UEFA Super Cup titles, and even a world cup medal. At Chelsea, Pedro was a hard-working servant who was a role model for younger players in the squad, a trait that carries on to this day. His numerical output wasn’t his strong suit, as he got 43 goals and 28 assists in 206 apps. Pedro’s ball movement, defending, and awareness was undeniably elite when compared to other attackers in his tenure. These important attributes helped himself and the club to an FA cup, a Premier League trophy, and just recently, a Europa League title.
When it comes to big games, Pedro had a good chance of being in the headlines. He wasn’t incredibly consistent as a Blue, but when it came to big games, he usually played very well. His numbers per season showcased the inconsistency he had, but he always came in clutch when he was needed. Whether it be in the Champions League knockouts, the Europa League knockouts, or the final cup games, you could expect a good showing from the Spaniard.
As of now, Pedro and the club have already announced that he will be departing to Roma this summer. His legacy at this club will be one of a reliable servant who has been a good substitute player. Throughout the restart, we didn’t see a great deal of Pedro minutes (as most of our team was fit until the last few games), but his presence was necessary enough to make a short contract extension. His quality and technique at this age is something most players in his position can’t pull off. The younger players of the club should use the legacy of Pedro as encouragement for their own careers. His attitude and professionalism showcased throughout his tenure are the epitome of class and respect, something the new generation will hope to continue as they grow.
Willian Borges da Silva has reached iconic status in recent years at Chelsea. His unique hairdo and the amount of touches he got on the ball made him an easy player to recognize. Willian joined Chelsea in 2013 from Russian club Anzhi for around 31 million pounds. Although nowhere near as accomplished as Pedro, Willian has won a fair few trophies and achievements. Before his Chelsea transfer, Willian won five Ukrainian championships, two Ukrainian Super cups, and four Ukrainian cups. At Chelsea, he won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, a Europa League Cup, and rather intriguingly, a Premier League Player of the Year Award in the 15/16 season. During that season, we finished 10 place under Jose Mourinho. Willian was one of the few that were actually good then, which says something about the lack of quality we had.
As a player, Willian can be described by some as a highlight reel machine. He has spectacular moments where you think he can be among the best wingers in the world, but most of the time, he plays it far too safe. His lack of creativity and flair are major flaws that have hindered his output, but his talent as a footballer is still very noteworthy. He never takes on challenges he thinks might be risky, instead only deciding to make them when he has it all planned out with relative assurance. His biggest flaw, however, is his movement in the attacking third. Poor decision-making and inconsistent finishing eat away at his total numbers every season, unfortunate for someone who has the ability to do much more. Nonetheless, he’s had his fair share of clutch goals and plays, but at the same time, was missing for many important games.
Willian, along with the club, have recently announced that he will be leaving this summer after a long seven years with the blues. His most likely destination is at Arsenal, a move that will make some fans think of Willian as disloyal. Personally, I understand the decision considering he’s lived happily in London for 7 years with his family. On twitter, the banter between Arsenal and Chelsea fans has been non-stop. Many Chelsea fans are not bothered by the news of his departure, whereas Arsenal fans are claiming we are giving away one of our best players for free. Despite all the negatives and banter, Willian will still be missed by most. His infamous hairstyle and his long stay at the club will be remembered years after his departure.
Overall, these two players served the club well when they were needed. Both have had inconsistent periods where at times they are world class, and other times where they have been poor. To replace the two attackers, we have signed Ziyech and Werner. With the numbers 10 and 11 now free with their departures, it will be interesting to see how the numbers will shift come next season. My prediction is that Pulisic will get the well deserved 10, Werner will get the number 11, and Ziyech will get the 22. A new period is starting in Chelsea FC, and as someone famous once said, something very special is happening at this club. Thank you Willian and Pedro for your service at this club, and we wish you good luck in your next endeavors.