Chelsea and Manchester United made shock approach to sign 34-year-old forward on free transfer this summer: Reports

Chelsea and Manchester United probed signing Willian
sports gates الثلاثاء 18 يوليو 2023 - 14:45

Chelsea and Manchester United made surprise enquiries for Willian before he signed a new deal with Fulham, according to ESPN Brazil reporter Joao Castelo-Branco.

Fulham announced that Willian has put pen to paper on a new one-year deal with them on Monday (July 17). The 34-year-old had been a free agent for over two weeks after his contract with the Cottagers expired on June 30.

Willian helped Fulham finish tenth in the Premier League last season after joining them on a one-year deal from Corinthians. The attacking midfielder bagged five goals and six assists in 27 top-flight games for the London-based club.

Fulham have always been clear about their desire to hand the Brazilian a new contract. However, there were concerns that the veteran could turn down the proposal to remain at Craven Cottage, with interest from Nottingham Forest adding to the fear.

Manager Marco Silva’s desire to keep Willian at the club, though, appears to have led to a breakthrough. The Cottagers have also notably secured to an option to extend the former Arsenal attacker’s contract by another 12 months.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Willian was the subject of a shock interest from Chelsea and Manchester United before he committed to Fulham. According to the aforementioned source, both clubs probed the possibility of signing him. However, they viewed him as an alternative option and decided not to pursue a deal.

Manchester United have signed Mason Mount from Chelsea

Manchester United’s decision to not pursue a deal for Willian could be explained by their acquisition of Mason Mount. They agreed to pay Chelsea £55 million plus another £5 million in add-ons for the England international. The Red Devils have since turned their attention towards signing a goalkeeper and a striker.

Chelsea, meanwhile, are said to be in the market for midfield reinforcements, with Mount, Mateo Kovacic, N’Golo Kante, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Kai Havertz leaving. However, they’re currently focused on reaching an agreement with Brighton & Hove Albion for Moises Caicedo.

The Blues are widely expected to lodge an offer in excess of £70 million for Caicedo this week. They will be hopeful of getting a deal across the line for the Ecuador international soon. Mauricio Pochettino’s side could then consider signing a new striker, especially if former Manchester United man Romelu Lukaku departs.

It’s worth noting that Willian plied his trade for Chelsea for seven years, between 2013 and 2020. He made 339 appearances across competitions for the Stamford Bridge outfit, bagging 63 goals and 62 assists. The attacker also helped them win five trophies.

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