New Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has today spoken out over the intense speculation surrounding the future of Blues’ attacker Willian.
29-year-old Brazilian winger Willian has been on the books of Chelsea since 2013, when he made the move to Stamford Bridge from Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala.
And the gifted South American has since gone on to establish himself as a key figure for the Blues, racking up well over 200 appearances across his 5 seasons in London.
This past season proved particularly fruitful for the former Shakhtar Donetsk man, with Willian having notched 13 goals and 12 assists in 55 outings across all competitions.
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However, despite the crucial role that the 62-time capped Selecao international has long filled for Chelsea, large sections of the club’s fanbase have never really taken to Willian, leading to annual rumours that he could seek pastures new.
This summer has seen Manchester United named as the most likely destination for the South American, with Red Devils’ boss Jose Mourinho said to be a huge fan of Willian’s talents.
The last couple of weeks, though, have seen a pair of new contenders, in the form of La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid, emerge as surprise contenders for the Chelsea man.
The former were even rumoured to have seen a number of big-money offers rejected by Chelsea, with reports in the English media last week having suggested that Real tabled a £100 million bid to sign both Willian and Thibaut Courtois.
In addition, after news broke on Tuesday that Willian had failed to return to London for pre-season training, speculation quickly mounted that his absence may have been due to an imminent move to La Liga.
However, the Brazilian took to social media to provide an update on the speculation surrounding his name earlier today, on the back of a document doing the rounds online, purported to be from one of Willian’s representatives, providing permission for a transfer to another club to be pursued:
In the recent days I have been informed that a “letter of authorization for player agent FIFA”, allegedly signed in my name has been circulated through the football market. In such letter, Mr. Denirobson Dias would grant an authorization to Mr. Renee Pinheiro Anunciação to represent me until 15 August 2018, throughout football clubs in the United Kingdom and France. I would like to clarify that I never signed such letter, the content of which I completely deny. Finally, since there seem to be clear evidence that my signature has been forged, or anyway misused, I hereby inform that my lawyers are already instructed to proceed with all appropriate legal measures before any competent courts or authorities. I hope I have clarified the matter and any possible misunderstanding. Willian Borges da Silva Nos últimos dias fui informado de que uma “carta de autorização para agente de jogadores FIFA”, supostamente assinada por mim, está circulando pelo mercado do futebol. Na referida carta, o Sr. Denirobson Dias concede uma autorização ao Sr. Renee Pinheiro Anunciação para me representar até 15 de agosto de 2018, perante os clubes do Reino Unido e França. Gostaria de esclarecer que nunca assinei tal carta, cujo conteúdo nego completamente. Finalmente, uma vez que parece haver provas claras de que a minha assinatura foi falsificada, ou de qualquer forma mal utilizada, informo que meus advogados já estão instruídos a proceder com todas as medidas legais cabíveis perante quaisquer tribunais ou autoridades competentes. Espero ter esclarecido o assunto e qualquer possível mal-entendido. Willian Borges da Silva
As such, with the Chelsea star’s future continuing to be one of the most heavily-discussed stories of the European transfer window, Blues’ boss Maurizio Sarri was unsurprisingly drawn on the subject of Willian’s place at the club during a press conference earlier today.
And, speaking to reporters, the Italian tactician admitted to being unhappy with the current situation of one of his side’s key men, adding that he is eagerly awaiting a conversation with the Brazilian to clear the air:
‘I want to speak to him before I answer these questions. I don’t know. I want to speak to him.’
‘I am not happy about the situation but before answering I would like to talk to him.’