‘With all due respect’ – Player opens up on why he rejected Tottenham 

Willian has explained the circumstances behind his decision to reject a move to Tottenham in favour of joining Chelsea, revealing that he had always dreamed of a switch to Stamford Bridge.

The story of Willian having a medical at Hotspur Way only for Chelsea to steal him from under Tottenham’s noses at the last minute has become quite infamous over the years.

(Photo by Visionhaus)

Spurs, under Andre Villas-Boas, were revamping their squad that summer after losing Gareth Bale to Real Madrid and eventually ended up bringing in seven new faces.

Willian was expected to be one of the players to arrive through the door but just when it looked like the Lilywhites had agreed on a deal, their London rivals swooped in at the last minute to take the Brazilian to West London.

The winger, who completed a return to London last summer by signing for newly-promoted Fulham, has now opened up on how his move to the Blues materialised 10 years ago.

He revealed that Chelsea had shown interest in him even before he had originally moved to Anzhi Makhachkala and admitted that he had always dreamed of joining the club.

Willian told Premier League Brasil: “That’s why my song from Chelsea fans exists.

“The story is as follows: when I was at Shakhtar, the first club that made an offer for me was Chelsea, in 2011. Since then I started to follow the club, I saw Drogba, Terry, I went crazy for the Blues and decided that I wanted to play for Chelsea. It became a dream.

“They made three offers and Shakhtar didn’t accept them. The Ukrainians even said: ‘If they reach that amount, we’ll let you go’. Chelsea did and nothing, that was complicated.

“Soon after, Shakhtar were in the same group as Chelsea in the Champions League, and I went to play against them.

“I scored two goals at Stamford Bridge and we lost 3-2, with a goal in stoppage time. And after the game I got a shirt from a Chelsea fan with my name on the back and a question mark on the back. It was really cool, I still have that photo on my phone, even though I never saw the fan again.

“Then, when 2013 arrived, I couldn’t stand being in Ukraine anymore, but Chelsea had given up.

“I am very grateful to the Ukrainians, but I wanted a change of scenery because I had been there for five years. And, at the time, Anzhi, from Russia, was the only club that was willing to pay my termination fee, which was €35m euros.

“So I decided to go to Russia in January 2013 — I signed a four-year contract, I thought the club’s project was cool, I played with Eto’o, we were runners-up in the Russian Cup.

“But in the middle of the year the owner had a health problem, he decided that he’d stop investing and sell the players. And then my negotiations with the English began again.

“I went to London and Liverpool and Tottenham were interested. I was negotiating with both, not Chelsea. And in my heart the dream was to go to Chelsea. Proposals came from both of them and, as I wanted to stay in London, I decided that I’d go to Tottenham.

“It was all agreed, I had already done medical tests, all that was left was to go to Tottenham’s training centre to sign the contract. But I still had an insecurity, my mind was elsewhere. I was going there with Chelsea in mind.

“Then, 45 minutes into the second half, Chelsea made an offer. And I didn’t think twice. It was something I really wanted, with all due respect to Tottenham, who are also a great club, but my dream was to play for Chelsea.”

Spurs Web Opinion

Willian’s decision to turn down Spurs did not work out too badly for us as we ended up moving for Chrisitan Eriksen later in the window, who turned out to be an outstanding success at White Hart Lane.

However, I do wonder if Andre Villas-Boas’ reign would have been a lot different had we managed to get the Willain and Joao Moutinho deals over the line during the summer of 2013.

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