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Manchester United’s Willian chase shows Jose Mourinho’s attacking intent

Manchester United have been linked to Chelsea winger Willian once again as the 2017/18 season draws to a close. United need to sign a player to play on the right-wing, which will severely help their attacking play as, despite many players occupying this position this season, nothing seems to have worked for the long-term. Granted, United have many talented youth players who could earn this position in the future, but for now, it would be too much of a gamble.

United manager Jose Mourinho was interested in signing Willian last season but the club signed Nemanja Matic and Chelsea were not keen on losing two key players to a Premier League rival, something that have fallen short of this season, despite winning the Premier League at a canter last season. The race for a top-four finish, which was dented after the 3-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur last weekend could see some stars leave Stamford Bridge this summer.

It has been suggested by The Sun that Willian could sign for the Old Trafford club, which could spark the end of the road for Juan Mata. We have seen these reports before with Mata, especially when Mourinho became the manager and the Spaniard was tipped to be the first player to leave the Old Trafford club. This season, Mata is one of the players who has more often than not, when starting, been on in the winning team. Obviously, he is not going to be a long-term option at the club, neither is Willian, but in terms of attacking, a player like Willian is needed.

United signed Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal in January, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan heading in the other direction but Sanchez has seldom played on the right-wing, most of the time playing on the left-wing, benching Anthony Martial, which has started speculation surrounding the Frenchman’s position at the Theatre of Dreams. Willian, 29, recently signed a contract which would keep him at Stamford Bridge until the summer of 2020 and it was recently suggested that it could cost United around £60 million to sign the Brazilian.

Mourinho could be making some big changes at the Old Trafford club this summer in a bid to challenge runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City next season. Mata, who will turn 30 this month, has been a great signing after leaving Chelsea in January 2014 for £37.1 million, becoming David Moyes’ best signing of his short-lived career at the Old Trafford club. Mata has made 182 appearances so far, scoring 39 goals in all competitions. Mata recently saw his contract extended by the 12-month clause entered in his original contract and is eyeing more time at United:

“Once you are part of this club, your football career is not the same; it changes because this is one of the biggest clubs in football history. Every day I try to tell myself how lucky and how privileged I am, try to take advantage of every single training session, and try to see how important it is to be a Manchester United player.

“We have had so many new players during my four years, but now we know each other and understand each other better. We are creating a kind of stability that I believe is needed to build and to create a positive consistency in terms of getting results and getting trophies.”

Willian has had another good season at Chelsea, showing why Mourinho is a fan of his. The Brazilian has made 46 appearances for his club so far this season, scoring 13 goals and assisting another seven in all competitions. United have scored a lot of goals all over the pitch this season, but it is the creativity of the player, plus his goalscoring ability, as well as his assist rate which will benefit United. Offensively, Willian averages 1.6 shots per match, 1.4 key passes, 2.3 dribbles and is fouled at least 1.1 times per match, in the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League.

The Brazilian has five years of Premier League experience, which will help, and he has many strengths to his game, including; dribbling, crossing, long shots, taking set-pieces, direct free-kicks, key passes and holding onto the ball. Willian likes to dribble with the ball, likes to cross the ball, and he is a counter-attacking threat. This was shown in the recent 2-1 victory over Chelsea at Old Trafford with the Brazilian opening the scoring from the counter, drifting in behind the defence and beating David De Gea.

Most United players would love to have a player like Willian on the team, rather than play again him. He has been a handful in the Premier League during his time at Chelsea, scoring 25 goals in the league, in 160 appearances, of which he has been a part of 95 victories and just 29 defeats for his side. Mourinho has been seeking a player to fill that right-wing void at the club. Looking at players already at United, the likes of Andreas Pereira could function there, as could Tahith Chong. Neither has vast Premier League experience and that could become a big gamble.

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