ESPN FC Extra: Transfer talk
Willian has opted to join Chelsea rather than Tottenham, a source has told ESPN, with the Blues agreeing a £30 million deal with Anzhi Makhachkala to sign the forward subject to a work permit hearing.
Mourinho hinted during his press-conference on Friday that he already knew of the Brazilian's decision, while adding that he was an “extra target” alongside Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, who he will continue to pursue. The Portuguese also insisted that Juan Mata is not for sale.
But despite attempting to remain coy, Mourinho seemed to revel in discussing the Willian situation as he joked about the dangers of doing a medical before any contract is finalised.
When specifically asked about the possibility of Willian joining Chelsea ahead of Spurs, Mourinho paused and then said: “That’s a good question because I think he already made his decision.”
The Portuguese attempted to evade questions about whether that decision was to move to Chelsea, but then conceded that he “couldn’t hide” what he knew.
“I don’t like to speak before time, because football can be crazy and this is the problem when we speak a lot about names and transfers,” he said. “Sometimes it looks like [a situation is one way], but it isn’t. But I know what the player wants, so we cannot hide.
“That’s the danger of medicals before contracts but, at the same time, sometimes you can have a problem before signing a player so you have to do the medical before. The best thing you can do is do the medical in secret. The player is fine, you can sign him. The player is not fine, you don’t destroy his career by saying the player has problems. So you do it in secret and after that sign the contract with the club and the player.
“Sometimes you don’t make it. Sometimes you guys have great sources, find everything, but that’s the risk.”
When quizzed on whether he expected the deal to be completed, Mourinho again joked: “We have to do a medical!”
The Blues boss also said that he hopes to bring in Willian alongside a striker like Rooney.
“If you remember the press conference [ahead of the Aston Villa match]. I couldn’t say much. I have to answer your question and try to be honest, but at the same time try to hide a few things,” he said. “Yeah, it’s true. But if you remember I told you that I’m happy with my squad but every one of us managers, we say we are happy but we are always unhappy. We always want something more, always want something of more quality, and we never close the door to the possibility of adding more quality.
“Before Villa, I told you we have plan B and we have plan C, so I was letting the door open to other possibilities.”
Mourinho also indicated he is relaxed about the Rooney situation, with Chelsea understood to be readying a final bid after their visit to Manchester United on Monday.
“At this moment, I don’t care. I have a big match to play on Monday. I don’t care with new players, with the market, I don’t care,” he said.
“Not disappointed [if we don’t get a forward] but we are going to try, we are going to try to the last day, as I was saying before, to add more quality to the team, to add more options, we are going to try.”
Finally, despite the pursuit of Willian increasing the speculation about Mata being mooted as a potential swap for Rooney, Mourinho stated the Spain international is not for sale.
“No speculation, no speculation. He's a player we all like, he's a player we all want to keep,” he said. “We want more quality in the team, we don’t want less quality. We want to add quality to the quality we have. So Juan is not a player we want to lose.
“The point is not to sell, the point is I want a 22-player squad. So if somebody comes... Do we need to sell? No, we don’t. Do we need to loan, probably yes because I don’t like to work with big squads. I like to work with a small group of players and I think 22 is a perfect number to answer to our needs in four different competitions, and at same time to leave the door open for some kids to come out and train with us, to be selected in a few matches.”