Willian is the latest recruit to join Chelsea’s embarrassment of riches in attacking midfield, and his arrival comes with a host of selection problems for Blues boss Jose Mourinho.
Chelsea added to last season’s trio of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Juan Mata - with Victor Moses waiting in the wings - earlier this summer by bringing loanee Kevin De Bruyne back into the fold and signing Andre Schurrle.
Now Willian, whose arrival is unlikely to herald too much time on the sidelines, is another star to fit into the mix.
On the move: Willian will line up for Chelsea this term after scoring against them for Shakhtar Donetsk at Stamford Bridge in theChampions League group stage last season
Jose Mourinho has already admitted some players would have to leave, and Moses looks an obvious candidate for a loan move. De Bruyne may also find more action away from Stamford Bridge, while rumours persist over a shock departure for Juan Mata.
Despite being the club’s Player of the Year for each of his two seasons in England, Mata only featured for 65 minutes against Aston Villa on Wednesday, and cut an isolated figure on the right. Mourinho’s assertion that he wanted to keep the Spanish playmaker may well prove true, but questions have certainly risen over his role in the side following Willian’s arrival.
Willian could play behind the striker at Chelsea (whoever that ends up being) with Hazard and Mata either side, or cutting in from the left, with Mourinho stating his preference for ‘inside-out’ wingers. Both Willian and Hazard excel at this role from the left-hand side.
Fight for his place: Willian's arrival could signal a shock exit for Juan Mata
This, of course, would have been perfect for Tottenham with the impending departure of Gareth Bale, but the mutual long-standing admiration between Chelsea and Willian clinched the deal at the eleventh hour for Spurs’ London rivals.
The Brazilian attracted attention playing for Shahktar Donetsk cutting in from wide, whereas he has been used more centrally following his move to Russia. Him playing either role will suit Chelsea.
Willian will perform both roles at Stamford Bridge. We should expect to see a more rigid look to the three in attacking midfield compared to the free-form rotating of last season, which while pulsating to watch, sometimes resulted in a lack of cutting edge - hardly an accusation you could fire at a Mourinho side.
In contention: Willian could feature in a midfield alongside Oscar (left) and Eden Hazard
Oscar could continue his role in the middle, coming to collect the ball from deep in midfield, with two wingers cutting in from either side - Willian competing with Mata and Hazard.
Equally, Willian could take the role behind the front man (whoever that ends up being), leaving Oscar to drop deeper as part of a midfield two alongside Frank Lampard, Ramires or John Obi Mikel.
The Brazilian is not a goalscorer - 40 goals in 274 career appearances is by no means prolific - but is best used as a creative outlet, playing in team-mates for chances.
However, he offers a more direct approach than the scheming talents of Oscar and Mata. It may be that Mourinho wants Willian to add that incisive cutting edge to the attacking trio, and have less tricky play, more running straight at the opposition.
Another left-field option - especially with the Blues’ relative paucity of options up front - would be to play a strikerless 4-6-0 formation, leaving the array of creative talent to grab the goals.
Gamble gone wrong: Chelsea's strikerless formation against Juventus in the Champions League last term ended in defeat for the Blues and the eventual sacking of manager Roberto Di Matteo
However, the formation lost Roberto Di Matteo his job with a loss against Juventus with Hazard the focal point, while it is hard to see Mourinho adopting such a tactic. Roma, who pioneered the system under Luciano Spalletti, surely still have nightmares over their 8-1 Champions League loss at Manchester United.
The signing, more than anything, immensely improves the Blues’ options compared with last season. The departures of Marko Marin and Yossi Benayoun were hardly met with tears at Stamford Bridge after their substandard deputising for Mata, Hazard or Oscar, and while Moses showed promise, he is a level below his competitors at the minute.
Who lines up in a Blue shirt will of course depend on the opposition and the situation. 2-0 down and in need of a gung-ho approach? Expect to see Willian, Hazard and Schurrle on the pitch.
While the signing may seem like needless stockpiling of attacking options, most teams that face Chelsea play with 10 men behind the ball, hoping for a point. This means the deep-lying playmaking of Mata and Oscar can find a resolute two banks of four impenetrable.
Willian can put more pressure on a sturdy defensive team, hoping to unlock the defence in search of the hard-fought 1-0 away win that Mourinho made his trademark in his first spell at Chelsea.
The signing seems to be the culmination of a long-stated interest in the playmaker from Chelsea, to stop one of their long-term targets lining up across London at White Hart Lane, but as the season goes on we could see Willian help the Blues on their way to the kind of points that win Premier League titles.