Is Antonio Conte Phasing Willian Out Of Chelsea?

Back in 2015, Willian started in the majority of Chelsea’s Premier League fixtures as Jose Mourinho guided the Blues to the league crown that year.

In the season that followed not many of Chelsea’s stars turned up and the team slipped down to tenth spot, with Jose paying the ultimate price by getting sacked. That being said, Willian still managed to shine in that disappointing campaign with the Brazilian scoring five and assisting six others in his thirty-two Premier League starts. The forward easily claimed Chelsea’s player of the year trophy that season.

The attacker hasn’t been used quite as regularly under Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge. Last year as the Blues secured another top flight title, Willian managed just fifteen starts. He did come off the bench a further nineteen times and his goals tally went up to eight for the season but it must have been a surprise for the forward not to start more.

He might just be a victim of circumstance as Conte has went to a 3-4-2-1 formation and last season the Italian seemed to prefer having Eden Hazard and Pedro playing behind a lone striker.

This season seems to be more of the same for the twenty-nine year old. He has started six league games so far and came on a further five times. It should be noted he started more at the start of the campaign when Hazard was out injured. Willian has started just once in the last four outings, in that game he played the full ninety minutes against Everton in the League Cup and scored the winner. After that in the league he managed just a combined eight minutes against AFC Bournemouth and Manchester United.

For a Brazilian internationalist hoping to make the Selecao squad at next summer’s World Cup those sort of cameos aren’t really good enough.

Willian must be thinking that Conte doesn’t rate him worthy of a regular starting berth. With the January transfer window nearing, the Brazilian play-maker might look at leaving the current English champions.

Chelsea are never scared of letting players leave if they don’t think those players are stars in their team. Oscar, Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah,¬†Juan¬†Mata and Diego Costa have been sold on. While experienced personnel who have shown the club loyalty like Petr Cech and Nemanja Matic have also been allowed to leave the Bridge.

If Willian isn’t fitting into Conte’s plans, then I wouldn’t be surprised to see him offloaded as long as Chelsea get a competitive price for his talents.

The forward has recently claimed that the Chelsea boss doens’t really communicate with his players:

“He is very closed off.

“He hardly ever talks to the players .

“He gives instructions in training, on the pitch and nothing more.”

Newspaper gossip is already liking the Blues attacker with a winter move to Italian giants AC Milan. His former gaffer Mourinho is now at Man United and he has been continually linked with his former protege.

Conte would certainly prefer moving the talented Brazilian to Serie A rather than seeing him at a rival like United but we know Chelsea supremo Roman Abramovich has little qualms in selling an under used asset to another Premier League outfit.

It will be interesting to see if Conte decides to use Willian more, they have the hectic festive period coming up and they’re still fighting in four competitions after all.

Or will Antonio identify a more suitable replacement that fits in with his formation and his way of thinking?

At the moment it seems as if the Italian manager is phasing the midfield maestro out of the club and it’s a question of when rather than if.

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