Contrary to what may have first been believed, Chelsea summer recruit Willian has said that the Blues showed interest in signing him this summer prior to Tottenham’s move.
Spurs were thought to have been very close to bringing the Brazilian to White Hart Lane before Jose Mourinho’s late intervention directed Willian to Stamford Bridge instead.
Speaking to Brazilian television outlet SporTV (h/t Sky Sports), Willian stated:
They made an offer two months ago but I was not allowed to leave. I kept following the club and I used to go to London to follow Chelsea whenever I had free time and now my dream has come true.
I will work with Mourinho who is the best manager and I will grow a lot with him. Other clubs were interested, but my intention and dream of playing for Chelsea made the difference. The opportunity to play with Mourinho, the best manager in the world, also made a lot of difference. I always dreamed of wearing Chelsea's jersey.
From these comments, it certainly seems as though the 25-year-old has always been assured of his intentions, but it’s understandable how Tottenham may have been left frustrated given the proximity of their own transfer.
Later on, however, the Portuguese boss defended his comments by saying that managers always lie about their true directives:
Mourinho on managers wanting to strengthen their squads: 'We all say no but we lie. We want obviously to make it better.' #CFC— Chelsea FC (@chelseafc) August 16, 2013
However, even with the departure of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, there’s no saying the South American would have found it any easier to break into an Andre Villas-Boas attack that’s now almost as talented—if not equally talented.
Where would have been the best destination for Willian?
The fact that the player himself has come out to defend the motives of his own club is no surprise, but Willian’s latest words are more to defend his new manager than anything else.
There was the notion that Mourinho had usurped AVB’s move for Willian simply to prevent the North Londoners from strengthening their own squad further, as opposed to really seeing the signing as a step forward for his own.
Having said that, even in the humdrum, cutthroat environment of the Premier League, a sum of just over £30 million couldn’t be spent so tactically.
Even Jose Mourinho, a manager famed for his media mind games and lack of touchline etiquette, couldn’t pull off anything so dastardly—could he?