According to ESPN, Manchester United are interested in bringing Chelsea winger Willian to the club this summer. The recent improvement at Old Trafford suggests that the Portuguese manager is making progress, but he will want to recruit several players this summer to help his team become title challengers once again. He previously worked with the Brazilian at Chelsea and believes that the winger can add some much-needed experience, pace and goal threat to the United attack. Ed Woodward has been given instructions to pursue the player and this could be one of the stories that runs through the summer, as Antonio Conte won’t want to sell to a rival club.
After being voted the club’s player of the year during the 2015-16 campaign, Willian has been little more than a squad player this season. He has 29 Premier League appearances to his name, but only 13 of those came as a starter. The Brazilian has contributed six goals and one assist, with a goal involvement every 187.4 minutes. This isn’t bad considering that he has not been given regular minutes in the first team. It has been in the FA Cup that he has starred, as he has scored four times, including a brace in the semi-final against Tottenham.
Looking at his stats across the last two seasons, Willian has actually improved over the last 12 months, but he has gone from being a regular in the first team to a rotational squad player. Last season, he averaged 1.97 shots, 2.46 key passes and 2.66 chances created per ninety minutes. Compared to this campaign when he has averaged 2.44 shots, 2.71 key passes and 2.78 chances created per ninety minutes. It is clear that he is producing good numbers in the final third and it isn’t surprising that Mourinho wants to bring him to Old Trafford. Manchester United have been reliant on Zlatan Ibrahimovic and they are short on quality wide options. The signing of 28-year-old Chelsea man would help solve a lot of their issues.
The main reason that he would suit Manchester United is his incredible work ethic. He was one of the few at Chelsea to really buy into Mourinho’s methods and a reunion would be good for all parties. Last season, he averaged 1.61 ball recoveries per ninety minutes. Although that has decreased to 1.28 this season, he has been playing in a more advanced role. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is an excellent player in the final third, but he has still to prove that he can do the defensive work that Mourinho expects.
This is an interesting transfer rumour as it is rare for a player to transfer between two of the top six clubs in this country. There is an extra layer to this one as it would involve Chelsea selling one of their first team players to Jose Mourinho and that would be something that the club would want to avoid. However, Willian is now 28 and he will want to be playing regular first team football. The Blues will strengthen further in the summer and if he is struggling for game-time this season, it will get even harder to play regularly during the next campaign. If Manchester United put in an acceptable offer of around £25 million, this could suit all parties.