In the wonderful world of football, it is not uncommon to see words turn into opposite action. Players claiming they are happy to stay at a club leave a few days later. Teams claiming no bids for a player end up parading him around the stadium 24 hours later. Managers claiming no issues with players end up revealing palpable discord weeks, months, sometimes years later.
Even facts are easily malleable sometimes. Take Willian’s current situation. He was expected to be back at Cobham at the start of this week, but he’s nowhere to be found. That much is clear and that alone makes for juicy headlines, such as the Times blaring that “Willian absent from Chelsea training amid Real Madrid rumours”.
But once you start reading it becomes clear that the absence is excused — even if Matt Hughes jazzes it with an anonymously sourced “not everyone is convinced by the excuse” — and then you remember that Real Madrid have denied making a bid for him. Meanwhile, Willian just yesterday was saying how he’s staying at Chelsea because he’s “very happy” here.
So who’s lying?
Is Willian not actually happy and is staying away to force a move? It wouldn’t be the first time he’s acted unprofessionally in the last three months alone, and perhaps he drew some inspiration from Diego Costa, though the situation are fairly dissimilar (if not for the fact alone that there is no Antonio Conte text to blame if Chelsea are trying to cash in). Are Real Madrid lying and there is indeed a £65m bid in play for the near-30-year-old? Classic transfer strategy, that — deny, deny, deny, BOOM signed. Meanwhile, Manchester United have been awfully quiet despite confirmed interest; are they working on a deal behind the scenes?
We could speculate all day. Most reports agree that the passport thing is real.
No meio de tantos rumores nos tabloides, algumas informações sobre @willianborges88— Joao Castelo-Branco (@j_castelobranco) July 31, 2018
Teve atraso na renovação do passaporte e volta para Londres hoje. Tudo certo com o Chelsea, pode até renovar contrato. Clube não parece querer vender, rejeitou propostas do Barcelona.
(Translation: In the midst of many rumours in the tabloids, some information about Willian.
There has been a delay in his passport renewal and [he] returns to London today. Everything is alright with Chelsea, he can even renew his contract. The club do not look keen on selling, they rejected bids from Barcelona)
Willian is back a few days late due to a problem with his passport. He's kept in constant communication with Chelsea about, nothing untoward but not ideal. #CFC— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) July 31, 2018
Kinsella says Willian’s due back tonight, for sure this time. Whatever the issues were with the passport will have been sorted right quick.
Willian will fly back tonight FYI.— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) July 31, 2018
Unless he doesn’t. Flights get canceled all the time, right?