Jose Mourinho interested in signing Chelsea star Willian this summer?

Willian is a player who has been linked to Manchester United before, funnily enough since Jose Mourinho took over as manager. The 28-year-old Brazilian is a player who might even thrive at the Theatre of Dreams with United’s attack running a little short this season after the injury to Zlatan Ibrahimovic just over a week ago and the demise of Wayne Rooney, who is almost certainly a player who should look at his options in the summer. This season under Antonio Conte, Willian has failed to break through into Chelsea starting XI with the 3-4-3 formation running well at the Stamford Bridge club, with the Italian manager favouring Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses in the wing-back roles, with Willian coming off the bench at times. Willian has made 19 starts for Chelsea this season (13 in the Premier League, five in the FA Cup and one in the EFL Cup), he has also been involved off the bench 16 times, all in the Premier League. During his 35 appearances in all competitions, Willian has scored 10 goals, also assisting three more goals. The Brazilian has 54 shots on goal, 20 of those being on target.

What is being reported and by who?

The Sun started the recent rumours of a swoop for Willian during the week, with the rumours coming from ESPN writer Mark Ogden. United have done well under Mourinho this season with Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba joining the team. This coming summer will see Mourinho put a team together – one which should launch a title bid. This season is only a few of the draws at Old Trafford were turned into victories, United would have been challenging, maybe not for the title, but for a better-suited position in the league. Willian, an attacker and one who Mourinho has the confidence in, would be a good signing, providing this is not just a rumour to attract attention. Willian was subject to interest from the Chinese Super League in January, a move which was rebuffed with the player signing a four-year contract in July 2016. Jeremy Cross of The Daily Star also reported this rumour, going one better suggesting Willian could be the long-term replacement for Michael Carrick, which could maybe be a position Willian could play but would be a waste with his attacking ability on the ball, not to mention his pace. The Metro have also reported this rumour, citing ESPN as their source, which is more of the same. The Daily Mail, albeit briefly, report this too, suggesting that along with Willian, Nemanja Matic is a player who Mourinho holds an interest in too.

What type of player is Willian?

Willian is an attacking player, either able to play through the middle or on the wing. He has a strong work ethic, something which you can see every time he plays, whether it be from the start, middle of the end of the match. It is easy to see why he could be a target for Mourinho this summer as there are many players at Manchester United who do not offer the same work ethic as the 28-year-old Brazilian. This season, Willian has played a part in 30 Premier League matches, scoring seven goals. His shot accuracy is 43%, but he offers a bit more than your standard forward player. Willian has pace aplenty and bags of potential, despite his age. He can play on either wing or through the middle, even behind a striker. Many seem to think he could play a deeper role, which he may move into because of his age, but seeing what he can offer, may see that being wasted potential at this moment in time. Willian is a good passer, maintaining an 83% success rate in the league this season, averaging 17 metres each pass. He has also won more than half of his duels against opposition players (54%). Willian would fit into most Premier League teams, and beyond.

Likelihood of the transfer?

Right now, there are not exactly many credible sources suggesting this deal could happen. It seems that the daily newspapers have jumped on the bandwagon based on Mark Ogden’s reports for ESPN. Whilst Ogden is viewed as a trustworthy source of information, the lack of any other credible journalists having information would suggest that this may be more of an opinion rather than a fact – which is my opinion by the way. Willian would be a good signing for any Premier League club, linking him to Mourinho and Manchester United would be an obvious link, one that would gain a lot of traction within the media, as it seems to have done over the last week. United are in need of strong attacking players, preferably with Premier League experience, which is why he has been linked to the Old Trafford club. The fact he is not playing all the regularly, from the start of matches at least, is another reason. Perhaps the player is looking for a better contract, despite signing his last on inside the past year, or terms which will increase his role at Chelsea, starting more matches and proving to his new manager that he can rely on him.

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