Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk will consider selling Brazilian playmaker Willian to Chelsea or Tottenham this month but they will be demanding about £20million.
Willian is the star of the Shakhtar side who qualified for the knock-out phase of the Champions League at the expense of Chelsea but he remains keen on a move to the Premier League and Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu has expressed his displeasure with him for failing to return from Brazil on time for the club’s winter training camp.
Shakhtar’s have no need to sell due to their financial backing, but the £12.4m signing of Taison, a similar type of player, from Metalist Kharkhiv last week gave a clue about their thinking.
While the asking price is high, The Evening Standard understands that Shakhtar’s stance has softened and that there is a stronger chance of Willian moving to the Premier League this month than there had been in previous transfer windows. He is believed to be open to a move to either London side.
Villas-Boas wanted the 24-year-old during his brief spell in charge of Chelsea and his interest remained when he moved to north London. The Spurs boss believes Willian’s ability to play in different attacking positions makes him ideal for the playing style he wants to develop.
Chelsea also retain an interest and could put together a financial package that would exceed that of Spurs.
Were he to move, Willian would have to wave goodbye to Champions League football for the rest of the campaign. Shakhtar were one of the most impressive sides in the group stages but have been affected in previous years by the three-month winter break that deprives Ukrainian clubs of competitive domestic action from the end of November until the beginning of March.
Shakhtar’s last serious fixture was their home defeat by Juventus in the Champions League on December 5 and their next will be on February 13, the date of the first leg of the last-16 tie against Borussia Dortmund in the same competition.
So while it would be difficult for Willian to abandon a campaign in progress, he would be confident of playing in the tournament again for several more seasons if he moved to England.