Willian, Brazilian Left Attacking Midfielder, 5'8" (1.74 m), 159 lbs (72 kg), Age: 24
Willian is one of the many Brazilians Shakhtar Donetsk have signed since the club made a concerted effort to scout players from the Brasileirão. Names include Alan Patrick, Alex Teixeira, Dentinho, Douglas Costa, Elano, Fernandinho, Ilsinho, Jádson, Luiz Adriano and more.
Tottenham Hotspur are one for three when it comes to signing Brazilians in the Premier League era. Heurelho Gomes was the Titus Bramble of goalkeepers. while Gilberto was André Santos before André Santos.
Former Internacional player Sandro was the only one of these three that was signed directly from the Brasileirão. He's since become one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League.
Speaking of the EPL—Elano and Costa are names that should jump out at you. Elano had some memorable moments with Manchester City, like smashing a free kick past then-Newcastle United goalkeeper Shay Given.
Touted as the new Ronaldinho, Costa would have been a Manchester United player if Grêmio didn't keep jacking up his transfer value.
The background to the story was that Grêmio didn't want to be short-changed again.
They sold Ronaldinho to Paris Saint-Germain for €5 million. The Parisian club then sold him to Barcelona for €30 million.
Anderson went from Grêmio to Porto for €7 million before becoming a United player for €30 million.
Costa's career hasn't taken off as expected, and United may have dodged another dodgy Brazilian.
Before this article explains why Spurs signing Willian in January is out of the question, you need to understand what type of player he is.
WhoScored co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Cristiano Acconci made an insightful observation.
When Coutinho was on loan at Espanyol, he jinked his way past multiple defenders time after time. Willian has the same ability, averaging three dribbles per UEFA Champions League game, which is 1.2 dribbles higher than Lionel Messi in the UCL.
Like Messi, Willian isn't constrained to one set zone in that the Brazilian roams like Barça's No. 10. Look at Willian's heat map in the 3-2 loss to Chelsea compared to Alex Teixeira, who spent the large majority of the game on the right (via ESPN FC).
Up against a Chelsea team that deferred their marking assignments to one another—a classic example of social loafing—Willian's movement was the key reason why he scored both goals unmarked.
This shows high football IQ, great positional awareness and why he's the type of player that can play across midfield. Left, right, centre—as long as he is given the green light to stray from his set position on paper (left attacking midfielder in Mircea Lucescu's starting XI) Willian will continue to thrive.
In the midst of his goals, assists and skill, Willian's defensive prowess is ignored. He averages 1.4 tackles and two interceptions per UCL game. In the same competition, Manchester City's defensive midfielder Javi García makes 1.4 tackles and 1.2 interceptions per game.
Let's now look into the reasons why Tottenham signing Willian in the January transfer window isn't feasible.