Willian signing for Chelsea adds fuel to conspiracy theorist fires

Posted by Mark Worrall

It has, without question, been a whirlwind August for Brazilian attacking midfielder Willian Borges da Silva, a talented player unfortunately caught up in the desperate fire sale being orchestrated by Suleiman Kerimov, billionaire owner of Russian football club Anzhi Makhachkala.

On Aug. 7, Willian, who had only signed for Anzhi in January, was transfer listed as part of Kerimov's urgent cost-cutting exercise. His availability attracted interest from Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, with the London club appearing to lead the race for the £30 million player, who had principally made his name in Europe playing for crack Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk.

- Chelsea confirm deal for Willian
- Manchester United keen on Juan Mata

On Aug. 21, Spurs appeared to win the contest for Willian's signature, announcing that he had undergone a medical at White Hart Lane. To all intents and purposes it seemed that the Brazilian would become the club's latest big-money record signing as they continued to splash the cash surely coming their way from the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid.

Curiously, notwithstanding the size of the fee, the proposed transfer did not attract much interest beyond the confines of those who follow the fortunes of the Lilywhites. Within the next 24 hours, though, despite the tabled deal, reports began emerging that Willian was still considering his options and that Chelsea were preparing an audacious bid to take him to Stamford Bridge.

On Aug. 23, Jose Mourinho, eyes twinkling with mirth, indicated at his Friday news conference that Willian had a preference for West London and would be meeting his new teammates the next day. Spurs fans were incensed, Blues fans laughed -- openly delighted at having put one over their bitter rivals, but privately questioning the need for yet another outstandingly gifted midfielder.

Big-money transfers sometimes have a habit of ebbing and flowing, but as far as this deal is concerned, subject to a work-permit hearing that will take place on Wednesday, Willian is a Chelsea player and anybody following his Instagram account on Sunday will have read the following: "My dream came true!! I'm very happy to sign with the best club in the world. Thanks God!! COME ON CHELSEA!!!"

Photos subsequently emerged of the Brazil international, clad in Chelsea training kit, sitting on a hospital-style bed undergoing a medical to join the West London outfit -- final confirmation, if anyone needed it, that Willian is about to become the latest expensive addition to the Blues' remarkable roster of midfield talent.

The question in all of this, of course, has to be why? And there are two possible answers.

1) To facilitate a deal for Wayne Rooney. Mourinho stated recently that Rooney was Chelsea's only transfer target. Twice rebuffed by Manchester United, the Special One has indicated that a third and final bid to land the Red Devils striker will be made following Monday's game between the sides at Old Trafford.

What the composition of this final bid will be in the light of Willian's arrival at the Bridge has had the denizens of Blues social media sites touting one conspiracy theory in particular, a notion that is wholly unpopular.

It is no secret that United covet Chelsea midfield maestro and Player of the Year Juan Mata, and with the one-way Robin van Persie transfer and its legacy still fresh in the memory why would they sell Rooney to a rival club without gaining anything but cash in return? United need a world-class midfielder, Mata could be the answer.

2) Chelsea have simply bought Willian to stop him signing for a rival club. It's a curious theory, and one over-subscribed to by Spurs fans currently feeling hard done by. In a way it is understandable: Willian is yet another player who fancies the highly coveted Blues No. 10 role -- and Mourinho already has Oscar, Eden Hazard, Victor Moses, Kevin De Bruyne, Andre Schurrle, Marco van Ginkel and of course Mata already hammering on his door for it. Closer analysis, though, suggests that of those players, Moses isn't up to the job and a loan deal to balance the squad could be in the offing.

With the transfer window closing in a little more than a week, Mourinho has already stated he wants a 22-player squad. "If someone comes, someone leaves," he said recently. "Do we have to sell? Probably not. I don't like to work with big squads, I like small squads." When questioned about the future of Mata, the Special One was adamant he would not sell the Spaniard. "He's a player we all like and want to keep. We want more quality, not less. He's not a player we want to lose."

In all probability, the Rooney deal won't happen. Mata will stay at Chelsea, Moses might depart to Everton and Mourinho will return to Anzhi to secure the proven striking services of Samuel Eto'o. Should this be the case, Blues fans will heave a huge sigh of relief and the rumour-mill will stop whirring ... for the time being, at least. Of course, probability sometimes comes unstuck -- but that's why we love this glorious game of football so much.


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