Manchester United have taken their first steps towards the signing of Chelsea midfielder Willian, holding informal talks with the Brazilian’s representatives.
The summer transfer window opens on Thursday and the Manchester Evening News claims that United are already lining up their first transfer target as they seek to capitalise on the current situation at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea missed out on a place in next season’s Champions League after finishing 5th in the Premier League and with the future of manager Antonio Conte uncertain, United have taken this opportunity to talk to one of their main summer targets.
Jose Mourinho brought Willian to Chelsea from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013 and then attempted to bring the Brazilian with him to Old Trafford when he was appointed in 2016.
The following summer he successfully negotiated a deal for Blues midfielder Nemanja Matic but Chelsea took a firm stance on Willian. At the time they were Premier League champions, and therefore in a strong bargaining position.
Willian’s current Chelsea contract runs until 2020 but at the age of 29 his value is likely to dwindle dramatically as that deadline approaches, meaning that the Blues may seek to offload him now for a high fee and spend the money on younger talent.
Mourinho does not see much need to bolster his attacking options too much, but he will make an exception for the right wing position, which multiple players have attempted to fill without success.
Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata have had greater joy down the middle, while Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial prefer to lead the line.
Willian’s agent is Kia Joorabchian, the Iranian who represented Carlos Tevez when United brought him to Old Trafford in 2007.