Manchester United are still seeking numerous recruits this summer as their mission to catch neighbours Manchester City at the top of the Premier League continues, but they have been told they must pay top dollar for one of their key targets.
As a manager, José Mourinho has repeatedly returned for trusted lieutenants from former clubs as his spectacular career has taken him across Europe, and it has become common knowledge during the last year that he sees Chelsea’s Willian as a perfect addition to his squad at Old Trafford too. The West Londoners, however, are reluctant to sell.
A price tag of £70.8m has been slapped on the head of the Brazilian international and, 2 months short of his 30th birthday, it has been seen by many as over the top despite his obvious talent.
Yet money is rarely an object at clubs the size of United, and odds on the attacking midfielder making the switch have barely dropped since news of the required fee broke. A deal still seems highly possible, but what would United be getting if they did stump up the cash?
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Willian would be highly likely to occupy the right side of a 3 behind Romelu Lukaku, a position filling mainly by Juan Mata last term. When comparing the stats of the pair, it’s clear to see why Willian would be an upgrade.
Willian provided 2 more assists and twice as many goals in significantly fewer minutes, while he also had more of a positive influence on his side’s overall win ratio when in the side than Mata did.
The pair are clearly very different players, but the dynamism and skill of Willian would bring something unique to a United side that, at times, looked stale in attack last season.
The fee may be sizeable, but there are few players on the market that could offer what Willian does. United are a side in need of a sprinkling of magic, and the Brazilian could provide that. If he does, £70.8m will look like a steal.
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