Jose Mourinho will risk upsetting his former club Chelsea by launching a summer move for their player of the season in Willian, with the soon-to-be Manchester United manager already pressing on with his transfer plans.
Mourinho is expected to be named as Louis van Gaal’s successor at Old Trafford on Thursday providing United can come to an agreement to purchase the image rights to Mourinho that Chelsea still own. The conflict has delayed United’s announcement of their new manager, but with personal terms agreed between Mourinho and United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, the move is likely to go through before the end of the week.
Chelsea have refused to comment on the image rights scenario, but they remain in the news regardless as The Sun reports that United will move to try and sign Willian, with the Brazil midfielder proving to be the one shining light in a glum season for the Blues.
Willian was arguably the only player to perform to his true potential while Mourinho was still at the club until December, and he maintained his form throughout the year to pick up the fans’ and players’ Player of the Year awards.
The 27-year-old excelled under both Mourinho and his replacement, Guus Hiddink, and was a major reason why Chelsea managed to stay out of the relegation zone during their terrible start to the season while Mourinho was still in charge. It’s claimed that Willian is now keen to link up with the Portuguese once again, but Chelsea would be incredibly reluctant to let their former manager raid the club for one of the best players.
Mourinho has also been linked with a move for Willian’s team-mate, Nemanja Matic. The Serbian’s future at Stamford Bridge is less certain, given he endured a poor 2015/16 and slipped out of the side when Hiddink recalled John Obi Mikel in midfield. Chelsea are set to undergo a squad reconstruction of their own once incoming manager Antonio Conte arrives at the club once his Euro 2016 duties with Italy are complete, and Matic could find himself surplus to requirements with a number of midfield targets – including Radja Nainggolan and United target Joao Mario – linked with potential moves.
One problem for Mourinho is that Willian is currently away with the Brazil national side for the Copa America tournament, which gets underway on Saturday 4 June and runs until the end of the months. Should Brazil go all the way and reach the final on 27 June, Willian will not return to London until July at the earliest, with the midfielder also due a summer holiday before returning to the club.
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