While the rumour has already been rubbished by everybody’s favourite bald Echo journo, Liverpool have been linked with a move for Chelsea wide man Willian in recent weeks.
The Brazilian is a player that the Reds are very familiar with through his seven-year spell at Stamford Bridge. More than that, he very nearly ended up on Merseyside instead of west London — he was the subject of transfer rumours involving Liverpool when he turned out first for Shakhtar Donetsk and then Anzhi Makhachkala.
It wasn’t meant to be seven years ago, but talk of that transfer finally going ahead has returned as Willian nears the end of his Chelsea contract. It would be a move that strikes stark similarities to the career path of Mohamed Salah — the Egyptian also opted for a move to Stamford Bridge despite interest from Liverpool, before later making the move to Anfield. It hasn’t worked out too bad for him since.
Willian, now 31, joined Chelsea — then managed by José Mourinho — in the summer of 2013 and has now made more than 200 Premier League appearances for the club. He is a player known for his impressive ability on the ball, proving himself to be a direct, potent attacking option for various managers since arriving in England.
A move for him would be one that, in many ways, makes sense for the current world champions, keeping the costs low and adding vital experience and depth to a squad already full of quality. With Willian yet to agree a new deal in the capital, Liverpool may offer a resolution that could add essential cover in attacking areas.
On two occasions, the Brazilian has been involved in a Premier League title-winning campaign, something Klopp and his staff are desperately seeking to achieve. In addition, he won Chelsea’s Player of the Year in 2015/16, outshining even Eden Hazard in a fine individual season.
Willian predominantly operates on the right of a front three, which could provide a positive headache for the German, allowing much-needed options. It would free up the opportunity to play Salah in a central role if Roberto Firmino were to be absent at any point, but also it could offer the chance to use Bobby in a deeper role should there be an urgent requirement for a goal.
A Europa League winner just last season — which seems such a long time ago now — Willian boasts a wealth of experience both for club and country and surely it would be too good of an option to pass up on should it be presented to the Reds.
At his best he has already shown on numerous occasions that he can cause several problems for Premier League defenders and, with uncertainties surrounding the African Cup of Nations posing the risk of losing key players for a significant while, it would be almost criminal to overlook to the opportunity to sign Willian for free.
Amongst the many complications caused by the current Covid-19 pandemic is the situation regarding contracts — the procedure for players with contracts due to expire this summer is yet to be confirmed.
That is not the only roadblock — despite some reports, Liverpool Echo hack Ian Doyle has publicly stated the Reds are not looking at signing Willian at the moment.
But if Klopp did decide to look again, he would find an ageing but appealing option to help cover in attacking areas.