When Jose Mourinho first took over at Manchester United, attention immediately turned to his potential transfer targets. Perhaps to make it easier for themselves, journalists quickly linked the Special One with several Chelsea stars.
Having departed Stamford Bridge in acrimonious circumstances in December, Mourinho is widely reported to have fallen out with the majority of Chelsea's senior stars. Amongst the names of disenchanted players was Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa.
Naturally, none of those, who helped significantly during their title-winning campaign in 2015, were going to make the move up to Old Trafford with him but at least one man was apparently willing to consider it.
That man was Willian who, by no coincidence, was one of the only men to come out of Chelsea's disastrous 2015/16 campaign with an enhanced reputation. Indeed, the Brazilian continued to shine on the pitch and work for Mourinho right until the day he was sacked.
So the winger was the first to be linked with a move to Manchester United with a reported £60million transfer fee on offer to Chelsea. Having bought him for around £30m in 2013, it would have made for quite the profit.
But any chance of a deal appeared to fizzle out when Henrikh Mkhitaryan arrived from Borussia Dortmund, which is just as well because the player himself appears to have never been keen on the switch.
He told the Evening Standard: "I have a great relationship with Jose, but I am Chelsea. Of course, when someone like him is interested in you then you are happy. But I signed the contract because I like being a Chelsea player and I see good things here."
New era, new football
Chelsea suffered their worst season in the Roman Abramovich era last season, completing one of the worst title defences in England's long football history by finishing tenth. That leaves the Blues without any European football in the forthcoming campaign but that has not hampered new manager Antonio Conte in the transfer market.
Michy Batshuayi and N'Golo Kante have both arrived for a combined fee of £65m while another potential deal for Everton's Romelu Lukaku could see their total output for the summer doubled. Those signings will be hoping to help Chelsea fight for titles once again but Willian knows his team must improve a lot to get back in contention.
Matters were not helped when they were defeated by Real Madrid 3-2 in pre-season friendly.
Willian continued: "The game against Madrid was disappointing and we are going to have to improve a lot more.
"I signed a new contract and that shows how much I want to stay here. But the simple thing is that I want to win titles. To win titles you have to improve and if we can do that then we have a great chance to win titles this season.
"We have the players to do this - and the manager. We must work hard and when we have the ball then we have to play good football. This season it can't be just about defence, defence, defence. We have to play good football and attack."
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