The most likely candidate for Chelsea's Player of the Year, Willian has been in the news lately.
First, there were the rumors about him being next in line for a massive bid from the Chinese Super League, with the Mirror claiming that back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back CSL champions Guangzhou Evergrande are just one of several teams who are willing to tempt the Chelsea Board with a £50m transfer fee and Willian himself with twice his current wages. That may sound insane — and, this may be redundant, it is from the Mirror after all — but Guangzhou did spend over £30m on Jackson Martinez a few months ago, so there's hardly anything outside of the realm of possibilities that would actually be considered unlikely in this situation.
On the other hand, we did reject an even bigger bid for the younger Oscar in the winter, and interim manager Guus Hiddink, who had worked with Willian before at Anzhi, has urged Chelsea to do the same in Willian's case.
"I've known Willian for many years already before my Chelsea time. As a person, he is a very down to earth and nice person, although it is not that important for top performances."
"He is doing a very good job in a difficult year with his natural ability, he is working very hard to defend and sacrifice himself and he has the attitude to do so. That's why I think he is already and can be in the future a key player for this club."
-Guus Hiddink; source: Goal
Meanwhile, in more immediate concerns, Willian's preparing for Monday's big derby against Spurs and has joined the rising chorus of Chelsea players who are realizing just what this game means to the fans at this particular moment in time.
"We don't want Spurs to win the league - of course we want to win against them. The fans of Chelsea do not want them to win the title."
"Of course it will be a difficult game, a massive game. We have to win for our pride, not because Spurs are fighting to win the league. They have a great team, a great manager and they play great football. We have to go to the game, stay focussed and play compact. We have to play like we did last season. At home we always have to win. This game is special for us. They come to win. They respect us but if they win here they have a chance to win the league. We have to stop them winning the league."
Willian's shared history with Spurs has already been commemorated in song — they did buy his flight, after all — and a good performance Monday night would only add to his hero status at Stamford Bridge.
"I want to stay at that level, I want to always show my quality on the pitch and always play better. I want to improve so I hope next season I will play better than this season."
"I don't play alone. My team-mates help me show my quality, to score goals. This season for me was good, but not good for the team."
Personal improvement aside, the 27-year-old is also targeting a quick return to relevancy next season.
"This season was difficult for us. It was strange. Sometimes we played good football but we didn't have the luck. Sometimes we couldn't score."
"Last season we were champions and this season we have won nothing. This is difficult for us because now we do not have the motivation to play, to train, because we have nothing to win. We only play for our pride."
"When we started this season we wanted to win the title, to win the league again, to win everything. But we didn't. I think now we know what we have to do next season. We want to finish this season quickly because we want to start the next one better, and next season win some titles."
"Next season will be difficult as well because the other teams will buy players. Other managers will come and it will be a difficult season for everybody."
-Willian; source: Sky
Whether he means "some titles" literally or in a more general sense of challenging for titles, the intent is roughly the same and equally commendable. But first, these four games, including Spurs, and a summer full of international football and preparation. And then, it'll be time to stop being sh*t.