Chelsea FC have confirmed the signing of Brazilian attacker Willian from Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala.
Willian has ended his short spell at Anzhi after joining the club from Shakhtar for a fee of €35 million back in January. But the Brazilian was put up for sale, along with a host of big names at Anzhi, as the owner decided to cut costs this summer.
Initially Liverpool and Tottenham were linked with the 25-year-old, but the London club surged ahead in the race for this signature and were expected to complete the deal. Willian even completed his medical at White Hart Lane as he seemed destined to join Spurs in a deal which would have broken the club’s record transfer fee. But Roman Abramovich and Chelsea intervened in the last minute and the move stalled.
It is believed that Abramovich used his connection with Suleyman Kerimov, owner of Anzhi, to completed this deal. Despite being close to joining Tottenham, Willian preferred a move to Chelsea after knowing about their interest in him – the lure of Champions League football was too big for him to resist. Moreover Chelsea’s £30 million bid for him was more than Tottenham were offering. Willian has now agreed personal terms with the club and he will be revealed after his work permit hearing on Wednesday.
“Chelsea Football Club can confirm an agreement has been reached with both Willian and his club Anzhi Makhachkala for the transfer of the Brazilian player.
“The transfer is subject to a work permit hearing on Wednesday.” – Read a statement on Chelsea’s official website.
Jose Mourinho has earlier expressed his confidence that Willian will chose Chelsea over Spurs, but it is yet to be seen where and how the Portuguese manager will utilise the host of attacking midfielders he has in the squad at the moment. Willian becomes the third signing for Chelsea this summer, after the arrival of Marco van Ginkel and Andre Schurrle. The reigning Europa League champions have been chasing Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney this summer, as a clinical striker seemed the need of the hour. The need of spending such a big amount of money on another attacking midfielder, despite the presence of Hazard, Mata, Oscar, Moses, Schurrle and Kevin De Bryune in the squad, is questionable to say the least.
Moreover Willian’s arrival comes at a time when there has been speculation surrounding the future of Juan Mata and Moses at the club. Chelsea are reportedly keen on loaning out Moses, while Juan Mata has attracted interest from a few big clubs, despite Mourinho insisting that the Spaniard will not be sold. Recent reports have suggested the possibility of a swap deal with Manchester United involving Mata and Wayne Rooney – whose arrival could make the Blues the firm favourites for the title this season.