When to let go of an important player is a difficult decision to make.

Let them go too soon and you risk facing the ire of your fans if they succeed elsewhere.

Let them go too late and you again risk facing the ire of your fans for holding onto a player for too long.

It is definitely not an enviable task for a manger or a director of football.

Chelsea FC v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League

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During the World Cup, rumours were constantly linking Willian with moves to Barcelona or Manchester United, with a £50m bid apparently made by the Catalan giants.

Reports even circulated that Willian himself had expressed his desire to play for Jose Mourinho once more.

But in the face of his exit, Chelsea remained steadfast and insisted he stay at Stamford bridge.

So, were Chelsea right to keep Willian this summer?

He has been perennially underrated during his time at Chelsea, often being their best player when Eden Hazard has an off-day.

Watford v Chelsea - Barclays Premier League - Vicarage Road

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But with Maurizio Sarri’s appointment, Pedro – Willian’s direct competition for a starting spot – has began the season in fine form.

On the other hand, Willian, although featuring in all four Premier League games, has had minimal impact.

He is 30 years old, meaning his price-tag may be on the downhill slope.

And a player whose pace is so vital, Willian may struggle to keep up with the frenetic pace of the Premier League.

Arsenal v Chelsea - International Champions Cup 2018

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Even the success of Chelsea’s youngsters – such as Callum Hudson-Odoi – have decreased Willian’s importance.

So although hindsight is a blessing, maybe Chelsea missed a trick by not offloading Willian during the summer.

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