There have been rumours, as per the Sun, linking Manchester United with a summer swoop for Chelsea wideman Willian as Jose Mourinho eyes a reunion with the Brazilian.
The 29-year-old – valued at £28.8m by Transfermarkt – was the only Chelsea player who maintained his level of performance during the 2015/16 aberration that saw Mourinho pay with his job and that indicates that there may some underlying respect between the pair.
During a summer transfer window in which rumours are likely to swirl at will, we’ve decided to take a closer look at what the switches might lead to in terms of further activity down the line.
In this instance, the arrival of Willian may have an impact on the futures of Juan Mata and Richarlison as both United and Chelsea seek to rebalance their squads if the deal goes through…
This is the switch that needs to happen to set the ball rolling. It looks as if there will be a new man at the helm at Stamford Bridge as Mourinho’s successor Antonio Conte another putrid title defence by the Blues and much will depend on his view of Willian.
The Brazilian has never been an automatic pick at Chelsea and it is arguable that he has never played as well as he did in 2015/16. Both of those factors will encourage Mourinho that he can secure his signature.
The former Blues boss was in pursuit of Ivan Perisic to add pace and delivery down the right in the summer and all of United’s current options in that area look an awkward fit. There is a spot in the team waiting for Willian.
Mourinho was the one who offloaded Mata to United in the first place and for that reason, rumours that the Portuguese wants to ditch the Spaniard have never been far from the surface during his Old Trafford reign.
Willian is a typical Mourinho player – quick, athletic, and full of energy – and plays in the right-sided role that Mata has found himself in yet again for most of his Reds career.
Given that Willian is an experienced campaigner now, Jose may well look to get another older hand off the wage bill if he does sign. There is no obvious Premier League destination – maybe Tottenham? – but Serie A has always felt like a good fit.
Rumours have also swirled that Willian’s countryman Richarlison is on Chelsea’s radar, with views to battling United and Everton for a summer swoop.
In the 3-4-2-1 preferred by Conte, Richarlison may not have been an ideal wideman but a new manager with new ideas might see the Brazilian as the ideal man to add pace and ability in wide areas at Stamford Bridge.
There are question marks; after all, the youngster has tailed off after an impressive start to life in English football and hasn’t set up or scored a goal since the new year. He has got talent though, and could well be a worthy replacement.