Chelsea winger Willian is being linked with a potential summer move to London rivals Tottenham after naming current Spurs boss Jose Mourinho as one of the best coaches he has worked with, while also revealing that the pair are friends and remain in contact.
Willian is out of contract at Chelsea in the summer and is yet to agree a new one, allowing him to leave Stamford Bridge as a free agent. But his relationship with Mourinho and his own professed love of his London life could make Spurs an option if the club is interested.
As the latest subject of The Players’ Tribune the Brazil international explained, “People ask me about the best coaches I have had. For sure, Mourinho is one of them.
“We had a special relationship. He demanded a lot, so there were some conflicts, but that’s normal. He would challenge me and call out my mistakes, but if I had played well, he would also say something like, ‘Today you killed it.’
“I loved his man management, how he organised training, how he spoke in meetings. I learned a lot from him. Even after he left Chelsea, he spoke well of me. We are still friends. Sometimes we exchange messages.”
Willian even confirmed that Mourinho had wanted to later sign him for Manchester United.
The 31-year-old also revealed that he currently feels ‘very good playing for Frank Lampard’ at Chelsea. It suggests he would be happy to stay given the opportunity to do so, although contract talks that are yet to yield an agreement may prevent that from happening.
The Athletic writes that Willian is holding out for a three-year contract at Chelsea, who have so far refused to offer anything more than the two-year deal they gave David Luiz in May. The agreement with Luiz already represented a significant break from the club’s usual longstanding policy of only giving 12-month contracts to players over the age of 30, but Willian wants more.
If he is to leave Chelsea as a free agent in June, finding a new club in London so his family can stay in a city he told The Players’ Tribune has become a ‘second home’ could be preferential.
Willian has also recently passed a British citizenship test after living in the UK for nearly eight years, while he co-owns a restaurant near his home with the aforementioned Luiz.
Spurs, of course, came very close to signing Willian before he joined Chelsea from Russian club Anzhi Makachkala in 2013. The former Shakhtar Donetsk star had even flown into London for a Spurs medical until a late bid from Chelsea, his preferred destination, finally came through.
Willian has also recently been linked with a move to Juventus.