Chelsea have agreed temporary contracts with Willian and Pedro Rodriguez to play on until the end of the season.
The pair both left it until last night’s cut-off date for players whose contracts had been due to expire on June 30 to agree terms.
Pedro’s willingness to play until the end of the campaign had been in doubt after he agreed terms to join Roma on a free transfer in the next transfer window. But, following lengthy talks with head coach Frank Lampard and director Marina Granovskaia, the Spaniard and Willian committed themselves until the end of the season.
The news is a big boost for Lampard, who had last week admitted that losing either or both would have been a blow to his team’s hopes of Champions League qualification for next season.
While Pedro will leave at the end of the campaign, there is still no clarity over Willian’s long-term future.
The Brazilian had rejected Chelsea’s offer of a two-year extension before the coronavirus lockdown, with the club refusing his request for a three-year deal.
Lampard had stated he would like to keep Willian past the end of this season and it now remains to be seen whether the 31-year-old gets the offer he wants from elsewhere.
Arsenal and Tottenham have been interested in Willian, but both clubs have been impacted by the financial consequences of the coronavirus crisis.
Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta was confident last night that Arsenal could complete last-minute deals to keep David Luiz, Pablo Mari, Dani Ceballos and Cedric Soares at the club.
It is understood that a deal has been struck with Luiz, who is currently serving a two-match ban following his sending-off at Manchester City last week.
The situation was less clear where the other players are concerned, with the trio all on loan at the Emirates Stadium.
Ceballos is on a temporary switch from Real Madrid with Mari, currently sidelined with an ankle injury, on loan from Flamengo.
Cedric joined from Southampton in January and is yet to play for Arsenal due to a number of injury problems – but Arteta believes all four will remain at the club.
“I’m confident that we can do it,” he said of completing deals for the quartet.