Chelsea should be looking to thrash out fresh terms with Willian, says Glen Johnson, as the Brazilian remains a “top player” and would cost upwards of £20 million ($25m) to replace.
As things stand, an experienced South American forward is only tied to the Blues until the end of the 2019-20 campaign. He has agreed a short-term extension that will allow him to see out the current season at Stamford Bridge, but free agency beckons beyond that.
Various landing spots have been mooted for the 31-year-old, from Arsenal to Barcelona, but it may be that an opportunity presents itself for him to remain in his current surroundings.
Willian has been with Chelsea since 2013, making 330 appearances and contributing 59 goals to a cause that has included two Premier League title wins and a Europa League triumph.
As a proven performer at the highest level, Johnson believes those in west London should be looking to accept any demands that are put to them when it comes to extension talks.
The former Blues defender told talkSPORT: “I still think he’s a top player. Those sort of players, those players with that level of professionalism, they are hard to replace.
“Financially, business-wise, trying to replace Willian – how much is that going to cost? You are going to let a top player walk out of the door for nothing. It’s going to cost you a good £20m to replace him.
“I’d definitely like to see him stay there for another year.”
Frank Lampard has suggested that Willian may yet be talked into prolonging his association with Chelsea, with it possible that he could be kept on as World Cup winner Pedro departs.
The Blues boss said, with two seasoned professionals committed through the next few weeks: “Yes, we are still talking with the players and Willian in particular we are talking with him. I always felt confident that they would remain.
“They have been fantastic professionals for the club and servants in all senses and when you have that level of professionalism within you it was a sign that they wanted to stay and see out this season at least.
“So we will carry on talking and see but I think everybody’s focus now is on these next games, the individuals themselves and us as a club.
“I’m pleased negotiations were relatively easy because both sides wanted the same thing. The two players wanted to make sure they could see the season out with us. At this point we need them in the squad they are both important players for us so I’m happy.”
Chelsea, who continue to occupy a standing inside the Premier League’s top four, will be back in action on Thursday when they take in a home date with Manchester City.