Chelsea FC transfer target Willian has been making some noise about his desire to test himself in the Premier League, but now we're getting a clear indication that the Shakhtar Donetsk winger is specifically interested in playing for the Blues rather than anyone else in England. Why? Well, let's let him tell you himself...
Chelsea are known as one of the biggest and most successful clubs around. To play for them is a challenge I would accept and enjoy. If a deal doesn't go through, I'll understand. But I hope it happens. They have a culture of winning trophies and that excites me.
I have friends in the Brazil side who play for Chelsea, like David [Luiz] and Ramires. All they talk about is the thrill of being in a city like London and playing for a club like Chelsea. I've known David since we played together in the Brazil Under-20 side and he talks about what Villas-Boas is trying to build at Chelsea. He and Ramires feel he wants a core of young players who can mature and grow together but also be successful. David says how the coach takes a real interest in all his players, how he can adapt different cultures together and bring the best out of them.
-Willian. Source: The Sun via ESPN Soccernet.
In other words, that Brazilian contingent is starting to pay off. Even if you don't think David Luiz is a good enough defender to be playing for Chelsea*, he's a fantastic ambassador for the club, and it looks as though he's managed to convince a major transfer target to join the team. That doesn't mean the transfer will happen, of course - Chelsea and Shakhtar have yet to agree to a deal, but it's undeniably pretty awesome that we have a player who seems so popular amongst the Brazil national team.
*Which makes you wrong. Just so you know.
Oh, and if you're one of the many who are justifiably questioning whether Willian's worth that £29M release clause Shakhtar have attached to him, there's some interesting news on that front as well (from the same article):
We have no burning desire to sell the player, but in football some things are impossible to avoid.
If it weren't for our good relationship with Chelsea - and Willian does not hide his intention to test himself in one of the best clubs in the English Premier League - we would insist on the £29 million release clause written into the player's contract.
-Sergei Palkin, Shakhtar CEO.
In other words, Willian will cost Chelsea less - possibly far less - than the price quoted to other clubs, and Shakhtar are willing to facilitate his switch to England because he really wants to play for us. I know there are many of you against this transfer, so this isn't great news for you lot, but it really does sound like this deal's going to get done before the transfer window closes.
PS: If you really like us, Shakhtar, you'll give us Darijo Srna on loan. Pretty please?