When Chelsea managed to snap up Willian Borges da Silva from Anzhi Makhachkala, it was in some respects no surprise.
The Brazilian had long been linked with a move to South West London, and used to come watch the games at Stamford Bridge whenever he got the chance.
But it was a surprise in that Tottenham Hotspur were supposed to be signing him, and that he had even completed a medical and all that malarkey in relation to a White Hart Lane switch.
But when Chelsea came calling, his mind and heart was set on Stamford Bridge - for a whopping great sum of £30 million.
But for many, the greatest surprise about his switch is that the Home Office even allowed it. The fact is, that Willian only achieved his work permit to enter the country based on an appeal of ‘extraordinary talent’ - because he certainly did not fulfil the quota.
Willian has only made two appearances for Selecao, and has not represented his country in two years - so it would have been easy for the rules on non-EU players to have scuppered the deal. However, considering his price-tag and success in the Champions League with a Ukrainian outfit, on this occasion the Home Office looked the other way.
This is good for Willian, because he feels he can make it into the Brazil squad now he is playing for Chelsea - at least, that is what he said in September following the move:
"I will train, play and do my best to get the trust of the manager and of the fans. There is no doubt English football is very big, with huge visibility. I hope that helps me to be called up for the national team - but of course that depends on me. I will have to play and prove I deserve that spot. I first have to become a regular starter, then play well and be called up [by Brazil], this is my goal."
And he was right. Despite only playing 123 minutes of Premier League football since arriving at Stamford Bridge, he has been included in the latest Brazil squad - in preference to the likes of Lucas Moura at Paris Saint-Germain.
He is now all set to face Honduras and Chile in upcoming friendly matches later in the month, as he tries to cement a place in Luiz Felipe Scolari’s team ahead of the home World Cup.
It certainly seems as if his move to Chelsea has had its desired effect.
Will Willian be at the World Cup in 2014?
image: © the_junes