Chelsea star Willian has moved to assure fans he is remaining at Stamford Bridge, despite reports linking him to both Manchester United and Palmeiras in the January transfer window.
“There was never a contact made with Palmeiras,” the 29-year-old told ESPN Brasil on Saturday, amidst rumours of the Sao Paulo-based club lining up an approach for the Brazilian winger.
Speculation over Willian’s future has been rife this season as the playmaker had a patchy start to the season, but he has silenced critics in recent weeks with a series of strong performances – including in the Blues’ 5-0 thrashing of Stoke this weekend, in which the star found the net and had a hand in two other of Chelsea’s goals.
In addition to the reported Palmeiras link, Jose Mourinho is said to be keen to be reunited with his former charge at Old Trafford, with United thought to be tabling a firm bid for the 49-times-capped international in the new year.
With the Brazilian under contract at Stamford Bridge until 2020, it will surely take a significant bid to twist the arm of the Chelsea board, who will also be keen to heed coach Antonio Conte’s call for the club to strengthen his “threadbare” squad in the transfer window rather than look to offload any of his star men.
For his part, Willian has insisted he has no plans to move to Palmeiras, Man United, or indeed anywhere else in the near future. “I just want people to make sure that they know I am very happy at Chelsea,” he is reported as saying yesterday.
Header image: “Willian / Виллиан” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Aleksandr Osipov