Real Betis are eyeing up a move for Arsenal midfielder Willian should Joaquín retire at the end of the season.

That’s according to El Gol Digital, who say the 39-year-old Betis icon is ‘very close’ to ending his career come the end of the season.

Those in charge at Betis have already planned for such an eventuality, knowing they need to be prepared to lose a player who remains a regular under Manuel Pellegrini.

He’s a legend at the club having racked up more wins than any other players and while his performances have been ‘one of the most valued’ the managers and coaching staff are ‘already advancing conversations’ for his replacement.

On that from club chief Antonio Cordón has put Willian ‘in his sphere’, with it claimed that the Brazilian, who joined Arsenal from rivals, Chelsea, in the summer, has not been able to ‘consolidate himself’ under Mikel Arteta.

That has led those in charge of the Gunners to ‘contemplate’ letting him go in January and Betis would therefore be keen.

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They believe that the player, who is described as ‘intelligent’ and ‘versatile’ amongst other things, would not only help then cover the loss of Joaquín but also add a ‘luxury reinforcement’.

Similarly, their feeling is that it will be important to add ‘experienced’ players to the squad after a tough first half of the campaign and Wilian can certainly add that.

There’s no mention of whether he would be keen on the move, although it would be easy to imagine he wouldn’t given it would be a significant step down for him.

There’s also the issue of his wages, which are well known to be high at the Emirates and something that Betis, who we are regularly told need to sell players to make ends meet, would surely struggle to match.

Both of those things make us doubt this rumour from the offset, with the most likely scenario being Willian is one of the numerous players Betis are looking at but unlikely to ever sign.

Still, if you happen to see the rumour over the next month and into January, you know where it came from.