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Willian is better than Pepe & a ‘no-brainer’, says ex-Arsenal star Groves

Willian, Nicolas Pepe, Arsenal, Chelsea
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Signing Willian is a ‘no-brainer’ for Arsenal, says Perry Groves, who believes the Chelsea star is better than club-record signing Nicolas Pepe.

Arsenal are reportedly closing in on signing Willian on a free transfer from Chelsea once his contract expires this month.

The Brazilian may be on the verge of turning 32, but he’s shown no signs of slowing down. In fact, he’s arguably been one of Chelsea’s best performers recently.

Willian has produced four goals and three assists in his last 10 outings since returning from lockdown. That, along with his excellent injury record and being a proven Premier League performer, could make him a brilliant coup.

So Groves is understandably on the same page as Mikel Arteta on this one.

The former Gunners winger told talkSPORT: “It’s a no-brainer, an absolute no-brainer.

“You say he’s 31, in our day you were probably coming to the end of your career at 30, 31 as an outfield player.

“Now, because they look after themselves, he’ll be playing until he’s 33 or 34.

“And if you look at his injury record, over the last seven years he’s averaged 33 or 34 games a season, so he’s not injury prone, he’s consistent, he’s got a winning mentality, he will buy into the way that Arteta wants to play, his attitude is good, he plays in the Premier League, so the risk is low and reward is very, very high.”

Pepe, meanwhile, endured a difficult start to life in the English top-flight upon completing his club-record €80m transfer from Lille last summer.

And while the 25-year-old has shown promise in recent games, Groves feels Willian would be a better wide-man option for Arteta.

“Is he better than what Arsenal have got at the moment? I’d say yes. He’s experienced,” continued Groves.

“Yeah [Willian is better than Pepe]. Yes [Pepe has got great potential] but he’s not on Willian’s level of consistently delivering, he’s had his best goalscoring year.

“Willian would make Arsenal a stronger team, it’s a no-brainer.”