Arsenal have made a formal three-year contract offer to Willian, edging them to the front of the race to sign the Brazilian forward.

Joining Mikel Arteta’s rejuvenated side and the chance to work with fellow Brazilian Edu are the reasons Arsenal are favourites to secure Willian’s signature. The Gunners have made a formal three-year contract offer to Willian, still some way short of the terms offered by Barcelona and Inter Miami.

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Despite wanting the 31-year-old to extend his stay at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea have refused to offer more than a further two years – and the chances of him being a Chelsea player when the new season begins in five weeks now look remote.

Frank Lampard has admitted his side need to improve defensively, but that Chelsea would need to sell before they can buy, having already spent big in the attacking areas by bringing in Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech.

Willian made 47 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions and finished the season in fine form with four Premier League goals after the restart.

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