Should Willian have waited?

Shakhtar Donetsk attacker Willian made deadline dash for Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala on Thursday evening, despite long-term interest from both Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.

His former coach has stated his belief that the Brazilian should have waited until the summer for his ‘big move’ when a number of Europe’s top elite clubs would have likely come in for him.

Shakhtar boss Mircea Lucescu explained the conversation he had with his former star player prior to his deadline day switch. He revealed,

"I told Willian to stay and wait for a better chance. But he took his decision."

The reported price of the transfer was £34 million which is a fee only a handful of clubs could have afforded in the first place. But, at 24 years of age six months more at the Ukrainian club wouldn’t have done him much harm.

He’s been in fine form this season, notching up 5 goals in 16 appearances overall from attacking midfield positions predominantly. It was his performances in the Champion’s League that caught the eye of a number of top clubs on the continent.

In England, both Chelsea and Spurs were keen on capturing him but, as is so often the case, they were reluctant to make such a big bold move in the winter window.

With all due respect to Anzhi Makhachkala, they are the 5th best team currently in Russia and, despite an influx of foreign talent finance by billionaire owner Suleyman Kerimov who purchased the club in 2011, they are unlikely to fulfil the aspirations of glory and success a player of Willian’s stature and talent should be aiming form.

Now, away in Russia signed on a long-term deal until 2017, I wonder whether the Brazilian will regret his hasty decision. He is, after all, entering the peak years of his career and with a World Cup imminently being held in his home country, he might wish he’d had a little more patience.

His bank manager and his agent will likely benefit handsomely from the switch but the player’s career and development could very well suffer.

To compound the fact that the Russian top tier is not yet on a par with the Spanish, Italian, English, or French top leagues, should Willian become unsettled at Anzhi, any potential move would now cost in the region of £40 million.

With a number of other players of equal or superior talent across the continent for a lesser expense, Willian might find his options are increasingly limited.

image: © jbl767

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