Willian reveals he held talks with Manchester United this summer to join Jose Mourinho but Chelsea blocked move

The midfielder admitted his close friendship with Mourinho led to talks between United and his agent, only for Chelsea to insist he was not for sale at any price

Jack de Menezes
Thursday 10 August 2017 10:05 BST
Willian held talks with Manchester United this summer
Willian held talks with Manchester United this summer

Chelsea midfielder Willian has revealed that he held talks with Manchester United this summer about a potential transfer to follow Jose Mourinho to Old Trafford, but any chance of a move was blocked by the reigning Premier League champions.

The 29-year-old Brazilian has been repeatedly linked with a move to United due to his positive relationship with the former Chelsea manager Mourinho, but a transfer failed to materialise this year and Willian now says he is happy with life in London and not looking to leave the Blues.

“There were a few conversations with my agent. I worked with Mourinho and I became his friend as well,” Willian told Goal.

“He likes me a lot and I like him a lot as a coach and as a person. He has put his trust in me and in my work, and I was very grateful to him.

“Manchester came to me, they talked with my agent, but nothing happened, because Chelsea would not negotiate me in any way and I'm very happy at Chelsea.”

Manchester United: Premier League season preview

The former Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder joined Chelsea in 2013 when Mourinho returned to Stamford Bridge, and the Portuguese was reportedly keen on taking him to United when he was announced as their manager last summer.

A move failed to transpire, although Willian struggled to cement his place in Antonio Conte’s first-choice line-up and started less than half of their Premier League games as he had to make do with appearances from the substitutes’ bench, along with a few niggling injuries.

Willian identifies key differences between Mourinho and Conte, with the Italian favouring the more physical side of the game and trying to improve his side’s tactical ability that last season brought the Premier League title back to Stamford Bridge.

"They are very different. Everyone has their way of working. Mourinho is a coach who likes more the ball practice, works the ball possession and makes short games," Willian added.

"Conte likes to work the tactical and the physical part. Every coach has his way of working. Mourinho is a fantastic coach and won everything wherever he went.

"Conte is a fantastic coach too, because he won everything at Juventus and has already won the Premier League in his first year with Chelsea. Each one has his merits.”

Conte started Willian in the Community Shield defeat by Arsenal last weekend and could stick with the Brazil international for this weekend’s opening Premier League encounter against Burnley.

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