Chelsea and Tottenham pursued the Brazilian playmaker for a long-term contract, but Willian agreed to terms of a deal with Anzhi Makhachkala instead.
The move was reported by several sources, including Goal.com:
BREAKING NEWS: Shakhtar boss Mircea Lucescu confirms Willian is joining Anzhi Makhachkala. More to follow!— Goal.com(@goal_intl) January 31, 2013
The 24-year-old was expected to potentially sign with a Premier League club, but the £34 million deal he was offered was enough to sway Willian’s decision.
Chelsea was said to have considerable interest in Willian, who played well against the club this season. They made offers for him in both January and July last year, which reportedly included a £25 million offer (via RantSports.com).
According to J.J. Zucal of RantSports.com, Andre Villas-Boas pursued Willian with both Chelsea and Tottenham, and Willian had previously expressed interest in playing in “England, Spain or Italy.”
That won’t be the case with his new deal, and Willian is now set to play with the Russian club for the foreseeable future. The £34 million deal is the highest price in Europe during the midseason transfer period (via RantSports.com).
During his time at Shakhtar, Willian saw action in 140 matches and scored 20 goals. The midfielder’s abilities were highly sought after, and the end result was a move to the Russian side on a massive contract.
CNN Italian correspondent Tancredi Palmeri’s tweet regarding Shakhtar’s manager’s thoughts on the deal sheds light on the move:
JUST IN (2) : Shakhtar's manager Lucescu: "I told Willian to stay at Shakhtar and wait for a better chance but he took his decision"— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) January 31, 2013
Money was potentially the driving force in Willian’s decision, and whether his decision pans out remains to be seen. But with a hefty contract in tow, he’ll look to prove himself with Anzhi Makhachkala.