Chelsea declined the opportunity to cash in on Brazilian winger Willian, instead running the risk of losing the player for free in the summer after rejecting a £20m bid from Barcelona in the latter days of the January window, claims a report.
The 31-year-old has been a key component of Chelsea’s teams under numerous managers since his arrival in 2013, but has frequently attracted the interest of Spanish heavyweights Barcelona in recent times.
The Catalan giants came close to signing the veteran star in the summer of 2018, but a £50million transfer failed to materialise.
Despite the lifting of their transfer embargo ahead of the winter window, Frank Lampard‘s side were strangely quiet, securing the signatures of zero players despite full-throated please from the Chelsea boss.
With no incomings, the Blues were reluctant to allow any established stars on the fringes of their squad to leave, with Olivier Giroud’s potential exit blocked multiple times.
The article states that ‘Barça offered £20m for Willian, but Chelsea turned it down.’
The reasoning behind the decision is described as down to Chelsea preferring to lose the player for free in the summer than jeopardise their stuttering chances of securing Champions League qualification via finishing inside the top four.
The journalist (via Sport Witness) continues that the player has repeatedly said he is not looking to leave Chelsea, but until the ink dries on a new contract, rumours will continue to swirl over a possible exit.
The striker is just three goals away from breaking his club’s all-time goal scoring record, with one line of thinking being that he will be willing to depart once the feat has been achieved.