Fulham have been handed a major boost after a journalist revealed an influential attacker will be staying with the club, having been hunted by one of their Premier League rivals.
Brazilian winger Willian, who previously represented Chelsea and Arsenal, returned to the Premier League in September last year by signing a one-year contract with Fulham. He enjoyed a good first season with the Cottagers, registering five goals and six assists in 30 appearances. That form helped Fulham manage 10th in the Premier League, their highest top-flight finish since the 2011-12 campaign.
However, Willian was allowed to become a free agent by Fulham. On July 1, TEAMtalk exclusively revealed that the main reason for this was Fulham only offering him a one-year extension, whereas the player was hoping for a two-year deal.
Crystal Palace expressed their interest in picking up the 34-year-old. But Nottingham Forest then leapfrogged Palace in the chase for Willian by holding face-to-face talks with him, as per the Evening Standard. This forced Marco Silva’s side to pursue Chelsea outcast Callum Hudson-Odoi as a possible replacement for Willian.
However, according to the latest from Fabrizio Romano, Willian has completed a significant U-turn and will actually return to Craven Cottage this summer.
He has reached an agreement on a new contract with Fulham and is ‘expected’ to sign it today (Monday) once medical tests are completed. Romano adds that it was not just Fulham and Palace going after Willian, with Saudi clubs also expressing an interest in him.
But Willian will instead continue his spell with Fulham. Romano ends his tweet by adding ‘here we go soon’, which suggests it is not long before Fulham announce Willian’s continuation at the club.
The 70-cap international will now look to help Fulham achieve their best-ever season in the Prem. Their current highest finish is seventh, which they managed in the 2008-09 season.
Willian to stay, but Mitrovic could leave
While Willian is now highly likely to stay, it is unclear whether talismanic striker Aleksandar Mitrovic will be part of Silva’s squad next term.
On Friday, it emerged that Mitrovic had reached an agreement over personal terms with wealthy club Al Hilal. The Saudi Pro League side are now plotting a second bid for him after having their opening £25.5m offer rejected by Fulham.