It was a disappointing start to the World Cup for Willian as he failed to inspire favourites Brazil to victory against a team with Johan Djourou in its squad, but somebody out there still loves him, and that’s Jose Mourinho.
The Portuguese manager has never forgotten the midfielder’s twinkled-toed displays when they were together at Chelsea, or how Willian was the only player who remembered how to play football during Jose’s annus horribilis when the rest of the Blues squad hated him.
Consequently, Mourinho has never stopped trying to re-sign his special little guy – as a sign of his gratitude if nothing else. And today, it appears this long-awaited reunion may finally be on the cards.
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The Mail reports that Manchester United are preparing a £60m bid to take Willian from Chelsea this summer, just as they did in the last two transfer windows.
Those attempts were unsuccessful, but there is reason to believe this time could be different. For one, Willian is clearly not blissfully happy at Stamford Bridge – as demonstrated by his vindictive use of emojis to block out manager Antonio Conte’s face with trophies in a recent Instagram post.
He also recently described United as “one of the best teams in the world”, which is clearly not true.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is reluctant to sell Willian to a rival, but perhaps Mourinho can use his blossoming friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin to help smooth over the deal.
Man Utd lead race to sign Jerome Boateng
United are also allegedly keen on bringing Jerome Boateng – another man whose World Cup didn’t start in very nice fashion – to Old Trafford from Bayern Munich.
The Mirror says the Red Devils “will beat” Real Madrid to the German’s signature, which would be the first time they’ve beaten Real Madrid at anything since about 1968.
Mourinho is said to have the “upper hand” in negotiations due to Boateng’s desire to play in the Premier League, although the defender’s recent comments suggest he is keeping his options open. “Foreign countries are always interesting,” he stated profoundly.
Lyon, having failed to flog Nabil Fekir to Liverpool due to a mysterious dodgy medical, are now reportedly trying to flog him to Chelsea and Tottenham instead – for more money.
The Sun says the French midfielder has been “offered” to the two London clubs at a price of £66m, which sounds an ambitious valuation given that Liverpool were only willing to pay £53m – and that was when they thought his knees worked properly.
Kante address PSG rumours
Meanwhile, Blues midfielder N’Golo Kante has commented on speculation linking him with a move to Paris Saint-Germain, saying, “Today I am at Chelsea, and today I am currently living and playing in the World Cup.” (Express)
And while that gives an absolutely excellent overview of what N’Golo Kante is doing at the moment, it doesn’t tell us much about what he will do afterwards.
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14 – N'Golo Kanté made 14 recoveries in the World Cup game v Australia, the highest number in a World Cup game for a French player since Abou Diaby on June 11, 2010, v Uruguay. Patron. pic.twitter.com/5kwEEuwOv7
— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) June 16, 2018
Elsewhere, Crystal Palace are the latest club tipped to swoop for Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere amid reports the midfielder is set to leave the Emirates on a free transfer (Mirror), Leicester have agreed a £24m fee with Norwich City for the signing of 21-year-old Canaries midfielder James Maddison (Mail) and Lazio are “refusing” to lower their £35m asking price for West Ham target Felipe Anderson because they will have to give the Brazilian’s former club Santos a 20% cut of the transfer fee (Mirror). But that’s not West Ham’s fault, is it?