In the latest Chelsea transfer news, Willian officially joined the club, demonstrating the true impact and value of manager Jose Mourinho on the English side.
The news came on Wednesday after Willian agreed to a £32m move from Russia’s Anzhi Makhachkala to Stamford Bridge, per The Independent’s James Orr. Chelsea weren’t alone in their pursuit for the talented footballer. The 25-year-old Brazil international was considering Tottenham as well, but he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play for Mourinho.
“Chelsea are one of the of best clubs in the world, and now I’m going to play for one of the best managers in the world, so I’m very happy and looking forward to it,” he said, according to Orr.
This move is further testament to the ability and influence of the wily Portuguese. Having already acquired Andre Schurrle and Marco van Ginkel this summer, and having brought back Romelu Lukaku back from loan, Mourinho pulled off a coup by bringing Willian into the fold.
The Brazilian’s comments about Mourinho being a top manager in the world aren’t far off-base, either. He’s more than just a great talent evaluator and club builder; he’s a motivator who coaxes the best out of his players. Call it ego, call it conceit, but you can’t argue with the results.
In 11 years, Mourinho has led his clubs to 20 trophies in four different leagues. He’s also the youngest manager to win the Champions League trophy with two different clubs and to win 100 fixtures at that level.
When polled, ESPN FC editors ranked the Portuguese boss as the ninth-greatest manager currently in world football. That’s a shining endorsement, but he will certainly eclipse that mark if he can bring more championships to Stamford Bridge in the coming years.
Winning in Europe is big, but leading a team to Premier League glory is one of the most challenging and rewarding accomplishments in the sport. Mourinho knows he’s going to have his hands full in restoring Chelsea atop the league table, but he’s ready for the challenge, however long it takes.
“But of course we want to try to be the best immediately,” he said, per Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl. “Because it’s my nature, the nature of this club, of this owner, so we have to try immediately.”
With the moves he’s made this summer, he’s on track to reach that lofty goal. And while it’s still early in the new season, Mourinho already has his club on the right track. After three contests Chelsea are in the driver's seat atop the Premier League table.
Solid signings like Willian, Mourinho’s influence over his players and his strategic ability should help the club compete all season. After finishing in third place last year, the Blues can expect another top-four finish—or even better, a championship—now that they have a world-class manager back at the helm.