Update on Barcelona’s Interest in Chelsea Forward Willian as Atletico Madrid Join Race
Barcelona are thought to no longer be interested in signing Chelsea winger Willian, who is on course to become a free agent this summer when his contract at Stamford Bridge expires.
Barcelona have tried and failed to sign Willian in previous transfer windows, but the Catalans are not expected to pursue any such interest as he does not fit their plans. Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid are now the latest team linked with the Brazilian international instead.
Having first arrived in London in 2013, Willian has so far been unable to agree a new contract with Chelsea, with the club unwilling to meet his demands over the length of fresh terms.
“Chelsea offered me two years, and they are not going to change what they offered,” the player said on the matter just this week.
“I said I wanted three more years. The situation is difficult because of this, I really don’t know if it will be possible. My goal is to continue working and focus on the rest of the season, so that Chelsea can continue winning games. I have a clear head and am focused.”
Unless he backs down it increases the likelihood that he will leave Chelsea in summer, but Mundo Deportivo (MD) writes that he will not be heading to Barcelona. The club are not looking to sign him, despite acknowledging it is a free transfer, primarily due to concerns over his age.
Willian will turn 32 in August and is not going to be a long-term option for any club.
MD also suggests that Barca’s ongoing attempts to re-sign Neymar, said to be increasingly at the behest of Lionel Messi, as well as keenness to promote and develop teenage starlet Ansu Fati, also makes the idea of a Willian pursuit rather redundant.
Yet the Chelsea player may not be without options as TuttoMercatoWeb claims that Willian is currently ‘listening to several proposals’. Atletico Madrid are said to be among those, with alleged contact via an intermediary in late January and a contract offer on the table.
Juventus have also been linked, while there has even been talk of a potential summer switch to Chelsea’s London rivals Tottenham, where he could reunite with Jose Mourinho.
In a recent piece with The Players’ Tribune, Willian revealed that he remains friends with his former boss and that the pair have kept in touch since Mourinho, who previously wanted to sign him for Manchester United, last left Stamford Bridge in 2015.
Willian also explained that he and his family love their life in London and would like to stay in the capital, which has become a ‘second home’ for him away from his native Brazil.