Player analysis: Who is Chelsea's £32m man Willian?
Chelsea look to have beaten Tottenham to the signing of the 25-year-old Brazilian
Friday 23 August 2013
While his name may not sound too dissimilar from that coach off The Voice, Willian is not a musician/businessman he is an attacking midfielder who has already totalled nearly €50m in transfer fees in his career – and that is before a move to Chelsea's beckons. He can play on the left wing or in the centre, and has won two caps for Brazil.
Willian began his career in Brazil with Corinthians, before moving to Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk in 2007 for a reported €14m, where he enjoyed a trophy-laden five and a half years, including winning the league four times and the Uefa Cup in 2009. A €35m move took him to Russian’s Anzhi Makhachkala in January 2013, but due to financial crisis at the club all of their players have been transfer listed.
The Brazilian is no stranger to playing against Premier League teams, having featured against a quarter of the sides currently in the English top flight in European competitions.
Willian played in both legs of Shakhtar’s 3-1 aggregate victory over Tottenham in the last 32 of the Europa League in February 2009, including in the 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane in the second leg, although he was replaced at half-time in the fixture. He played against Fulham in the same round a year later in the competition, but Shakhtar lost 3-2 on aggregate to the eventual runners-up.
In the Champions League later in 2010, Willian played 45 minutes of Shakhtar’s 5-1 defeat by Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in the group stage but did complete the whole 90 minutes of the club’s 2-1 win over the Gunners in Ukraine. Shakhtar went on to finish top of the group. It was another London side that the midfielder faced in 2012 in the Champions League group stage, Shakhtar winning 2-1 at home and losing 3-2 away against Chelsea. It was in the 3-2 defeat at Stamford Bridge however, that Willian scored twice.
Willian had less success against Newcastle earlier this year in the Europa League for his new side Anzhi Makhachkala, after he was taken off injured after an awkward fall in the 22-minute of the first leg of Last 16 first-leg tie in Russia, and missed the second leg.
The midfielder appeared to be an obvious replacement for the Welshman Gareth Bale with his world-record transfer to Real Madrid on the horizon, but the Blues look to have scuppered Spurs' hopes of seeing him in regular action at White Hart Lane. The move could now have a serious ramification on Bale's move, with Spurs' chairman Daniel Levy unwilling to sanction the move until they find and sign a capable replacement.
Watch Willian in action...
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