The Russian outfit put the majority of their first-team stars on the transfer list following a dismal start to their league campaign and the sacking of manager Rene Meulensteen, formerly first-team coach at Old Trafford under Sir Alex Ferguson.
The former Red Devils coach was sacked after just 16 days in the job and the Russians have already begun their squad overhaul with Igor Denisov, Yuri Zhirkov and youngster Aleksandr Kokorin leading the exodus at Anzhi Arena.
25-year-old Brazilian Willian only just arrived in January from Shakhtar Donetsk after 6 years in Ukraine for a hefty fee of €35 million. The attacking midfielder is usually deployed as a winger on the left flank where he is most effective and tends to offer a high number of assists to the forwards.
Liverpool have reportedly opened talks with him this week after having a £30 million offer accepted by Anzhi and Tottenham Hotspur are rumoured to be considering him as a replacement should Gareth Bale be sold to Real Madrid.
The Brazilian has stated he would relish the opportunity to move to the Premier League and I suspect if an offer came in from the reigning champions, the Red Devils could likely lure him to Old Trafford ahead of Anfield or White Hart Lane.
United currently rely on Nani, Ashley Young, and Antonio Valencia on the flanks with youngster Wilfried Zaha about to embark on his Premier League and United debut season this weekend.
Nani has been linked with a move abroad several times this summer and his failure to agree terms to a new contract may see the club opt to sell him before its expiry next year.
Between them Young, Valencia and Nani managed just 15 assists and 1 goal in the Premier League which is not a respectable tally for Manchester United, especially given their great tradition of exploiting the space out wide with some of the world’s finest and most gifted wingers.
Whilst United have been linked with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale amongst others, it’s clear new boss David Moyes will need to invest in some new widemen and Willian could be just the kind of addition to boost the champions considerably.
He’s a quality and experienced senior international (unlike youngster Zaha) and his peak years of his career are surely still ahead of him. He could bring back the fear that Ronaldo have the Red Devils to some extent at least and he could surely manage a tally higher assists and goals tally the other three put together.
image: © Gordon Flood