(Reuters) - Chelsea boss Frank Lampard said he is unsure if Brazilian winger Willian will remain at the English Premier League soccer club next season but expects no bitterness from both parties if he does depart.
British media has reported that Willian is on the verge of joining Chelsea’s London rivals Arsenal on a three-year deal after his current employers only offered him a two-year extension which left him disappointed.
The 31-year-old Willian’s contract expires at the end of Chelsea’s Champions League campaign. Lampard’s side take on Bayern Munich in the last-16 second-leg on Saturday, a game Willian will miss due to an ankle injury.
“I haven’t got an answer” about whether Willian will leave, “because Willian remains our player at the moment. It actually doesn’t matter about disappointment from any party in this situation,” Lampard told reporters.
“Certainly as a club we have done everything we can to explain to Willian, and mine and his relationship is close. I’d have no feeling of disappointment if he does move on.
“I’ve played with him, coached him, he’s a fantastic man and a fantastic player. He’ll feel like that about Chelsea... But I don’t want anyone to try and find a negative attitude, because the club have acted very well in this as well.”
Willian has scored 63 goals and provided 62 assists in 339 appearances for Chelsea since his arrival from Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala in 2013.