Since his introduction at Chelsea at the start of the 2013-14 season, Willian has been one of the squad’s mainstays. Despite regular criticisms about his “end product”, he held down the right wing position for three seasons, leaving a trail of multiple departures in his wake (Schürrle, Cuadrado, Salah, De Bruyne, Mata). Last season, as one of the few players not succumbing to the general malaise present at the club, he was even named Chelsea's Player of the Year as he set new career highs in goals scored and developed a (well-earned) reputation for free-kick mastery.
This season however, the 28-year-old's place in the pecking order and the starting lineups has been overtaken by Pedro. While Willian only lost his starting place because of personal tragedy, he has been unable to regain it thanks to Pedro’s consistently excellent performances.
Given that predicament, it’s no surprise to see last summer’s rumors of a Manchester United bid resurrected. According to ESPN, former Chelsea boss, and the man who brought Willian to Chelsea in the first place, José Mourinho is once again keen on adding the Man Who Hates Tottenham to his squad.
Willian is apparently part of José’s master plan — alongside possible Chelsea transfer target Alvaro Morata — as United are looking to spend even more money this summer to turn some of those hilarious draws from this season into annoying wins and an actual title-challenge.
Whether Chelsea or Willian would be willing participants in this is far from certain however. I doubt the Board would be too keen on reinforcing a direct rival, especially Mourinho at this time, while the three years left on Willian’s contract, which he signed just nine months ago, give the club plenty of leverage to set exorbitant price tags for him.
Chelsea have already rejected interest from Chinese clubs in January, and while he’s not been the out and out starter he once was, he remains an important part of our squad with his goals and ball-carrying skills as shown just this past weekend, in our 4-2 win over Tottenham in the FA Cup semifinals.