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Remembering Willian’s roller-coaster transfer saga that p***ed off Daniel Levy

Three interested clubs, a cheeky medical and a last-minute twist

In the end, transfer deadline day ended with very minimal drama, didn’t it?

Everton got a few deals over the line, Chelsea ironed out their goalkeeping problem and Jose Mourinho failed to sign any of his centre-back targets.

Poor bloke, you gotta feel for him really, eh?

Nah

AFP or licensors
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Nah

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But in the past, we’ve seen some downright messy transfer deals or “sagas” as we like to call them (makes them seem a bit more exciting, that way).

And perhaps one of the most memorable in recent years was Chelsea’s bonkers deadline day signing of Willian.

Casual

Times Newspapers Ltd
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Casual

Cast your mind back to August 2013.

Willian was one of the most sought-after attacking midfielders in Europe, having impressed with Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk before being tempted to the ass-end of Russia with actual Bond villains Anzhi Makhachkala.

But as Anzhi began flogging their players, suddenly Willian became available.

Hot property

EPA
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Hot property

Liverpool were the early favourites to sign him, with then-boss Brendan Rodgers admitting the Brazilian was exactly the kind of player his side needed.

With his agent in-tow, Willian headed to London to start face-to-face negotiations with the Anfield club, while the likes of Spurs, Chelsea and even Man United waited in the wings to pounce.

Liverpool were the first club to make a bid

PA:Press Association
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Liverpool were the first club to make a bid

Speaking about the transfer with FourFourTwo recently, Willian recalled: “When I came to London, there were other clubs interested in my football: Liverpool, Tottenham as well as Chelsea. I was just waiting for the negotiations to be completed. My agent was talking to the clubs.

“I was just waiting for the decision. In the end, I ended up going to Chelsea. When I understood they were really keen to sign me, I said my decision was made. I wanted to go to Chelsea.”

Willian had his heart set on the Blues

Getty Images - Getty
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Willian had his heart set on the Blues

But that’s not exactly the whole story.

According to Rodgers, Spurs offered Willian more money and ‘gazumped’ their offer, meaning the Brazilian was seemingly on his way to White Hart Lane.

Famously, he even completed his medical at Spurs with just the paperwork waiting to be processed, before Chelsea’s last minute offer.

Abramovich played his part

The Digital South Ltd
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Abramovich played his part

According to legend, Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich contacted his compatriot and fellow

oligarch Suleyman Kerimov – the owner of Anzhi – to persuade him to sell the player to the Blues instead.

And within hours, Willian made the short journey across London to Stamford Bridge, completely side-stepping Spurs and their less-than-impressed chairman Daniel Levy.

No one was expecting this

Chelsea FC
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No one was expecting this

The following day, then-Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho openly mocked Spurs for missing out on the player they were so desperate to sign.

He even jokingly thanked them for doing Willian’s medical for them, going onto say: “The best thing to do is have the medical in secret” to save the club and player any more embarrassment.

We’d love to know exactly how p***ed off Levy was when he heard that.


Willian is priced at just £4.0m on Dream Team – get him in your side now!

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