As Chelsea close in on the Premier League title, key players like Eden Hazard and Pedro are stepping up and leading the way. The two wingers have claimed the two wide roles in Antonio Conte’s 5-2-2-1 formation while Victor Moses has adapted his playing style to play the right wing-back role.
One player that has suffered due to Conte’s new tactic is Willian. The Brazilian was voted as Chelsea’s Player of the Year last season but he has had to settle for a place on the bench under Conte. This happened to Juan Mata when Jose Mourinho arrived for his second spell at Chelsea and the Spaniard now forms a key part of Manchester United’s creative unit.
If Willian was allowed to leave, Manchester United, along with other super powers, would be embroiled in a battle for his signature. It comes as little surprise then, to see the Brazilian being linked with a move to Old Trafford by Goal.com and the Daily Star.
Why do Manchester United want to sign him?
Jose Mourinho used Willian 35 times when he led the Blues to the title in 2014/15 and while the Brazilian only scored twice, he was their third most creative player, setting up 49 key opportunities, only Eden Hazard, who won PFA Player of the Year, and Cesc Fabregas created more.
Unlike many of his teammates, Willian carried his form into the next season.
In what was ultimately a horrendous campaign for the Blues, during which Jose Mourinho was sacked at Christmas and they finished 10th, the Brazilian winger gave 100% for his Portuguese manager and was the best Chelsea player that season, by far.
Willian’s commitment to Mourinho is something similar to why Zlatan Ibrahimovic was brought to Manchester United. The Swedish striker promises to give his all for Mourinho and, in return, the Portuguese manager trusts Ibrahimovic fully.
How likely is this transfer?
While Willian is highly regarded around Stamford Bridge, Antonio Conte has suggested to StarSport that he would be willing to let the Brazilian winger leave.
This transfer saga has similar circumstances to Juan Mata’s Chelsea exit. Both were the Blue’s current Player of the Year, both suffered due to the arrival of a new manager and finally, both were heavily linked with Manchester United.
Willian would cost around £60 million but that comes as no issue to the Red Devils, who have a huge sum of money available to them for transfers, but would the Brazilian be needed?
With Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan all likely to stay while the futures of Ashley Young and Wayne Rooney, who rarely plays out wide, are undecided, the addition of Willian would mean United have five wingers, with Rashford likely to play centrally next season. His arrival would almost make United too well equipped in the wide areas.
However, Willian would bring pace and flair to United's side and the underlying connection with Mourinho means he could well be plying his trade at Old Trafford next season.