Tottenham Hotspur have joined Liverpool in the chase for £30 million rated Brazilian midfielder Willian and are looking to hijack the move, though the Reds are still favourites to sign him.
The 25-year-old was a target for Spurs last season and reports emerged that Chairman Daniel Levy even travelled to Ukraine to negotiate a deal, but in the end the move collapsed as he joined the Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala.
Willian has revealed his desire to play in the Premier League in the past, and Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas had tried to sign him before, during his stint with Chelsea.
Anzhi have suffered a financial loss and owner Suleyman Kerimov is not looking to bankroll the club’s big spending any more, with the entire first-team squad is now up for sale. It was understood that Liverpool are holding advanced talks with the player and would still appear as favourites to sign the Brazilian.
Willian is a terrific player, who can play on either side of the wings or behind the striker. If the Reds can pull off a deal for him, he would add sufficient quality to the Brendan Rodgers’ side, which could prove to be a deciding factor, as Liverpool are looking to break into the top four with a serious intent.
The body language in the dressing room is positive, following Liverpool’s 1-0 victory over Stoke City in the opening match of the season. And if they can add Willian to their squad, and with Luis Suarez returning after five more matches, Liverpool’s pursuit for top four will get a huge fillip.
Likewise, if Spurs can snatch him away from under the nose of their rivals, not only their chances of finishing in top four improves but an outside chance of challenging for the title cannot be ruled out either, provide they keep hold of Gareth Bale. An attacking trio of Bale, Willian and Soldado can wreak havoc to any team, on paper and no wonder why Spurs are so keen to get hold of the player.
Also, it could deal a psychological blow to Liverpool. The Reds were heavily linked with two big money signings this summer – Diego Costa and Henrikh Mkhitaryan – and in both the cases, they have suffered rejections.
It is imperative that Liverpool tie up a deal for the charismatic Brazilian soon, not only because they need to strengthen but also because it is vital that their top four rivals do not widen the gap with them anymore.