Transfer news: Personal intervention from Roman Abramovich key to Willian decision to pick Chelsea over Tottenham

Brazilian was expected to sign for Spurs after having medical with the club

Chief Football Correspondent

The Brazilian playmaker Willian was persuaded by Chelsea to break off his negotiations with Tottenham while he was undergoing a medical with Spurs, it emerged yesterday, when Jose Mourinho indicated that his club had won an ill-tempered battle for the player’s signature.

It is understood Chelsea’s owner, Roman Abramovich, and his senior adviser Marina Granovskaia, a recent addition to the Chelsea executive board, intervened personally with Willian’s club Anzhi Makhachkala to ensure that they got the player. Anzhi are owned by the Dagestani billionaire Suleyman Kerimov, who recently put the whole squad up for sale, including Willian, signed from Shakhtar Donetsk in January.

Willian was prepared to sign for Spurs as late as 6pm on Thursday when the last-minute intervention came from Chelsea. The player, who is advised by Kia Joorabchian, decided that he would be ready to withdraw from talks with Tottenham where he was completing a medical. Asked yesterday whether he believed that Willian had decided to sign for Chelsea, Mourinho declined to answer but smiled and nodded.

Sources at the club claim that Chelsea have been tracking the £30m-rated Willian for some time. Given the promptness with which they have done business in the early part of the window, it is intriguing that the club waited as long as they did to make the decisive move for the player. Willian is expected to sign next week, once a work permit application has been made – which Chelsea do not anticipate will prove an obstacle.

As for Spurs, it is understood they are furious with Willian’s change of heart and that the episode will change how, and with whom, they do business in the future. Nevertheless, it was Liverpool for whom Willian was originally closest to signing, until Spurs intervened at the weekend.

As for Chelsea, Mourinho said yesterday that they have not given up on signing Wayne Rooney, although he “didn’t care” about new signings until after Monday’s game against Manchester United. In regards to Juan Mata, who has been suggested potentially as part of the Rooney deal, Mourinho said that Chelsea had no  intention of letting him leave.

Nevertheless, Willian’s arrival would, Mourinho said, mean one player will have to leave on loan. It will probably be Victor Moses who has attracted interest from his former Wigan manager Roberto Martinez who is now at Everton.

Having confirmed with a nod that Chelsea were favourites to sign Willian, Mourinho said: “I don’t like to speak before time because football can betray you. This is a problem when we speak a lot about names and transfers. Sometimes it looks what is it is. But it isn’t. But I know what the player wants. At this moment we cannot hide that he [Willian] is a possibility.”

Having previously said that his only remaining transfer target was Rooney, Mourinho defended the decision to sign Willian by falling back on an old position that all managers were given to “lying” about their true feelings. Willian, he said, was an “extra target”.

He said: “I have to answer your questions and try to be honest but at the same time try to hide things. If you  remember I said I was happy with my squad. Managers say we are happy but we are always unhappy.”

Asked how he felt about the Rooney situation, a player for whom Chelsea have had two bids rejected, Mourinho said: “I don’t care. At this moment I don’t care. I have a big match to play on Monday. I don’t care about new  players, markets. I don’t care.”

Mourinho said that David Luiz would be back fit for the European Super Cup game against Bayern Munich on Friday in Prague. With the game against United looming, Mourinho maintained that he had been in the same position himself with a player that wanted to leave.

“He [Rooney] is their player, they know. We told [Barcelona] immediately David Luiz was not for sale, for example. The player wants to leave, the club wants to keep. It’s something we have to make a decision one way or another. Maybe I can persuade the player to stay, or the player persuade us to sell.

“We are going to try, we are going to try to the last day, as I was saying before, to add more quality to the team, to add more options, we are going to try.”

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star