In Focus: Chelsea star a £35m Man United target; Blues may not deal with title rivals

According to reports in the Daily Star, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is reportedly lining up a £35m summer move for Chelsea midfielder Willian.

What’s the word, then?

Well, despite making a number of new signings last summer, the Portuguese boss is keen to further strengthen his Red Devils squad at the end of the season in order to ensure that they can be title challengers next term.

He is said to be looking for a experienced midfielder with an eye for goal and that could lead to him making a bid for the Brazilian, who was a star performer even in the bad times for the Blues and Mourinho at the start of last season before he was given the boot.

How has Willian done this season?

It’s been a tough campaign for the 28-year-old.

Despite being one of their best players last term, the Brazil international has found first team football hard to come by this season and he has made just 13 Premier League starts under Antonio Conte.

Ever since the Italian introduced his 3-4-3 formation following the 3-0 defeat to Arsenal in October, Eden Hazard and Pedro have often been preferred in the forward positions.

However, despite the lack of playing time he has still scored 10 goals in all competitions, including two in last weekend’s 4-2 win against Tottenham in their FA Cup semi-final tie at Wembley.

Would Chelsea be willing to sell him?

Because of his lack of first team opportunities they would probably be open to the idea – especially if he commands a large fee – but the one sticking point could come with them sure to be unhappy at selling a player to a Premier League rival.

Having only signed a new four-year deal at Stamford Bridge last summer, Chelsea certainly hold most of the cards even if the attacker is frustrated at his lack of playing time.

What’s the verdict, then?

It will really be a case of waiting and seeing what happens this summer.

Mourinho will certainly fancy his chances of luring the Brazilian to Old Trafford, but it will all depend on whether the Premier League leaders veto the deal to a Premier League rival.