It's been a grand total of one day since the close of the Janaury transfer window, so naturally it's time for this summer's hot sexy Chelsea transfer rumours to start appearing. That's right - it's Willian time. The Shakhtar Donetsk winger was the subject of at least one bid from Chelsea in January but ultimately didn't make the move to Stamford Bridge at which point I think we all assumed that any chance of him ever donning a Blues shirt had evaporated.
However, there are some very odd quotes out of FC Santos which would seem to imply that this is not entirely true:
Desistimos devido uma proposta que eles (Shakhtar) receberam do Chelsea. Foi uma oferta de dezenas de milhões de euros. Parece que ele deve ir para lá no meio do ano. Tentamos por empréstimo até o final do ano, mas não deu certo
-Luis Alvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro, Santos President. Source: UOL Esporte.
My Portuguese is a little bit non-existent, so here's the Google translated version for your reading pleasure:
We gave up a proposal [to take Willian] because Shakhtar received one from Chelsea. It was an offer of tens of millions of euros. It seems that he should go there in the middle of the year. We offered to take him on loan until the end of the year, but failed.
What to make of this? I'm not entirely sure. When we were linked with Willian, I imagined that it was some sort of makeshift move to help us to a top four finish this season. Andre Villas-Boas pointed out that others (i.e. Lucas Moura and Eden Hazard) fit better into our long-term strategy. And yet Santos seem to be pretty sure that he'll be a Chelsea player this summer, which makes no sense - this is supposed to be the season which we struggle through only to reload with world-class talent, and while I like Willian more than some, if he's the answer for next year we're not asking a particularly sensible question.
There are plenty of reasons why we shouldn't take this that seriously. Santos could be making stuff up. Something could be lost in translation. Priorities may change in the next couple of months. But I really don't like this very much.
Time for a poll!