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Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho doubts his side will be able to sign Willian this summer because of Chelsea’s reluctance to sell him.
The Sun‘s Neil Custis reported earlier this month that United were eyeing him as a potential replacement for Juan Mata, having attempted to sign him last season.
In an interview with ESPN Brasil (Metro), Mourinho doubted the Blues will facilitate such a move, however:
“I think a team without a Brazilian isn’t a team. I think their talent is fantastic and the creativity of the Brazilian player cannot be measured.
“I worked with Brazilian players in every team I coached, and I enjoyed a lot. Who knows, we can have a Brazilian in the squad next year.
“I don’t believe it will be Willian, because Chelsea won’t make it possible.”
A strong campaign from Willian has seen him rack up 13 goals and 12 assists in all competitions. It has been the most prolific campaign of the 29-year-old’s career, and the third season running in which he has reached double figures for goals.
Blues boss Antonio Conte has relied heavily on the playmaker this season, per Goal’s Nizaar Kinsella:
Nizaar Kinsella @NizaarKinsella
Today is Willian’s 50th appearance for Chelsea in this season alone (all comps incl Community Shield). That’s more than any other Chelsea player. #CFC #facupsemifinal
He’s a reliable performer. The Brazil international is incisive in the final third—as evidenced by his goal contributions this season—and he’ll help out defensively thanks to his healthy work ethic, too.
The Independent’s Jack Pitt-Brooke and ESPN FC’s Liam Twomey praised him when he laid on an assist in Chelsea’s FA Cup win over Leicester City in March:
Mourinho is well aware of Willian’s talents, having worked with him at Stamford Bridge in his second spell at Chelsea.
The Blues did allow United to sign Nemanja Matic last summer, but having witnessed the Serb become an important player at Old Trafford while their own midfield reinforcements—Tiemoue Bakayoko and Danny Drinkwater—struggled to make a positive impact, they may be less inclined to do business this year.