What is it with Manchester United and buying Chelsea players who are no longer wanted? It’s no locker room secret that Willian and Antonio Conte didn’t see eye to eye last season. The Brazilian clearly felt neglected by the Italian while the manager himself didn’t believe the winger was producing enough on the pitch.
Willian appears to be open to a move away from Chelsea which has, in turn, attracted interest from Europe’s elite, including Barcelona and Manchester United. The La Liga Champions have had three bids rejected for the 29-year-old and look set to calm their interest, leaving the door open for Manchester’s most famous club. Even with the opportunity to sign a quality winger, does it make sense for the Red Devils to do so?
Is Willian a necessary buy for Manchester United?
José Mourinho and Manchester United’s relationship are currently on the brink. The signing of a 29-year-old Chelsea player wouldn’t do much to repair that. Mourinho has always been one to sign players he thinks can fulfill his tactical instructions. In the Portuguese’s last season at Chelsea, Willian was the only shining light in a squad full of players that had clearly turned on the manager. Perhaps it is that lasting memory that has left the 55-year-old in awe of the Brazilian.
Regardless of how good a player Willian is, Manchester United simply don’t need another wide forward. As of now, the Red Devils have; Alexis Sánchez, Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard & Anthony Martial who could all play on the flanks. Adding Willian to that mix doesn’t strengthen their depth, it just creates a selection crisis as more egos are added to an already volatile melting pot.
Anthony Martial’s United career is already on the brink as the signing of Alexis Sánchez in January cut a significant part of his playing time. Now imagine having Willian in the ranks, it’d only further create more rifts. On the other hand, it’s logical to see why Mourinho wants Willian. José prefers to have attacking players that possess high defensive work rates.
Martial is the opposite of that and perhaps José sees the Brazilian as the perfect replacement for the outgoing Frenchman. It doesn’t matter how talented you are, if you don’t track back, Mourinho doesn’t want you. Anthony Martial is one of the most talented youngsters in world football, but a 29-year-old Willian is set to kick him out the back door because of ‘philosophy’.
Although he was clearly displeased with his game time, Willian did make 36 Premier League appearances last season. Granted, he came off the bench in 16 of those games but the 29-year-old did receive 1883 minutes of playing time in the league. In that time, Willian scored six goals, provided seven assists, completed 1.7 dribbles per game and averaged 1.7 chances. Under new manager Maurizio Sarri, Willian could receive the playing time he so desperately craves. The Brazilian should wait and assess his options before making a hasty move to a side he may not even start at.