Manchester United look to have made a major breakthrough in their pursuit to land one of Jose Mourinho’s top priority summer transfer window targets.
CaughtOffside understands the Red Devils have reached a personal agreement with Blues winger Willian over a move to Old Trafford after lengthy speculation linking him with the club.
Willian is a long-time favourite of manager Jose Mourinho, who signed the Brazil international during his time as Chelsea boss and who moved for him last summer as well.
On that occasion, United failed to sign Willian but focused on bringing in another old Mourinho favourite in Nemanja Matic instead, with the Serbian proving a big hit in Manchester.
Mourinho is keen to once again be reunited with his old guard after struggling to win over players like Paul Pogba at United, with the Frenchman proving to be the latest in a long line of big names who haven’t clicked with the Portuguese.
Willian, however, is like Matic in knowing how to keep Mourinho happy and meet his demanding tactical requests, and CaughtOffside understands the two clubs now just need to agree on a fee.
This could still be a stumbling block as the Premier League champions will no doubt be eager not to lose a key player to a rival again, but are under increasing pressure to do so if they miss out on the Champions League.
£58million could be enough to persuade Chelsea to sell and it’s thought that Mourinho would be happy to pay that, even if the United board will need winning over to fork out so much for a player who turns 30 later this year.
Still, Mourinho is thought to be convinced Willian is just the kind of wide-man his side needs after missing out on the likes of Ivan Perisic and Gareth Bale in recent times, while Alexis Sanchez has proven a disappointment since joining from Arsenal in January.
CaughtOffside have been told Willian has agreed on wages of around £8million a year on a four-year contract, which is an improvement on his deal at Stamford Bridge and perhaps likely to be a more long-term contract than Chelsea tend to offer players once they hit 30.
That will amount to £32m in wages on top of a likely £58m transfer fee, so a £90m investment in total, which is certainly not without its risks.
However, with United struggling to break down the top sides this season a player of Willian’s ability could be ideal to help the club close the gap on Manchester City next season.
The 29-year-old recently scored against United at Old Trafford, prompting Mourinho to say after the game: ‘Do you want to talk about Willian? Top, cream of the crop, he’s amazing.’
The Sun also claimed United had made an initial approach for Willian and it now looks like a deal is edging closer to completion as long as Chelsea agree to the sale.
However, it is understood the player himself will not force the move if the Blues are adamant they want to keep him.