€35m transfer a year ago made Willian's 'desire to play for Chelsea all the stronger'

Willian rejected Tottenham Hotspur in the summer, despite undergoing a medical at White Hart Lane. But it seems he was hell-bent on playing for Chelsea.

One of the most confusing transfer sagas of the summer involved the chase for Brazilian star Willian of Anzhi Makhachkala.

He had only been at the Russian club for six months, but after the Dagestan outfits summer upheaval, he was just one of the big names being flogged by the club’s owner Suleyman Kerimov.

It attracted the interest of a number of teams from across Europe and at one point it seemed that Tottenham Hotspur had got their man.

Andre Villas-Boas had seemingly got the player, a long-term target of his, and Spurs were seemingly ready to announce it officially. Willian even underwent a medical at the club and a deal seemed done - at a fee in the region of £30 million.

‘’The best thing to do is do the medical in secret.’’

Was the top tip given to Spurs a few days later by Jose Mourinho - after his Chelsea side had brushed aside Spurs in the pursuit of Brazilian forward Willian.

Once Chelsea knew the asking price and the fact he was already in London it was easy to push through a move for the player they had chased for many a season.

Willian has since reiterated his belief that the €37 million switch to Chelsea was the right option for him - telling the club website after signing that ‘Chelsea was always my first choice.’

And he has recently been talking about that decision again.

Speaking to FIFA.com he made it clear that he wanted to make the move to Chelsea for many a year:

“I always dreamed about signing for a big club like Chelsea…I kept an eye on Chelsea’s fortunes after they first tried to sign me. I developed a bit of a soft spot for the club. The problem was that Shakhtar didn’t want to let me go. And then Anzhi came in and met my release clause fee. But that made my desire to play for Chelsea all the stronger. It took a while, but now I’m here, and I couldn’t be happier.”

Willian then was still thinking of making a move to Chelsea one day 12 months ago - when he signed for Anzhi in a whopping €35 million deal on January 31st 2013.

And it appears he made the right choice. He has settled in well at Chelsea, earned a place in the Brazil squad and impressed on international duty with Selecao.

Meanwhile Tottenham moved on and snapped up Erik Lamela instead.

Maybe they should have kept the medical a secret after all.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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