Willian, Jose Mourinho, Daniel Levy, Juan Mata – Tottenham’s Anger


So Willian isn’t going to provide the midfield creativity for Andre Villas-Boas’ new  Tottenham team. Who will and how will Daniel Levy respond to Chelsea’s and Jose Mourinho’s late intervention in the transfer deal?

Willian – NO Show!

Willian on his way to sign for Chelsea [Photo: Alan Hill]It’s not going to be Willian pulling the strings in Tottenham’s midfield having apparently opted for Chelsea and their ability to provide him with Champions League football if he can find a place in their already over-staffed midfield. If ever a team didn’t need a player to fill that role, it’s Chelsea. As the Mirror suggested in their report of Willian’s move to Stamford Bridge yesterday,

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has telephoned Anzhi Makhachkala owner Suleyman Kerimov to offer £32m for winger Willian, 25, in an attempt to prevent the Brazilian joining Tottenham.

The sudden change of heart by Willian reminds me of Tottenham’s attempt to sign Emmanuel Petit in 1997. After discussions on a move to White Hart Lane who made him an offer, he took a taxi, paid for by Spurs, down the Tottenham High Road to Highbury and promptly signed for Arsenal. The tale is recalled in Sport.co.uk with Petit saying,

"I don’t know if it was Gerry Francis who paid, but it’s true the day I arrived in England I first went to White Hart Lane. I had a meeting with Mr Sugar and they made me an offer. Two hours later they ordered me a black cab, it was pre-paid, and I went to see Arsene Wenger……."

As Alan wrote as a post-script to yesterday’s diary,

Friday 23 August, 7am.

I knew it! According to Sky, Chelsea are apparently in for the little sh*t. They are only doing to us what we were trying to do to Liverpool. All’s fair in love and war – and football contracts. It’s what you get when we all put money before principles. Look at his face as he leaves the London hotel (Claridges?)yesterday. If you ever wanted to see a visual definition of guilty/sheepish, that is it. He looks like a kid that’s been caught with his hands in the cookie jar. Sad, another soul in the process of being sold to the devil.

The decision by Chelsea to move for Willian makes little sense given the quality of midfield players they already have other than to prevent Tottenham adding another player to their re-vamped team with the west London club fearing they could provide competition to their own ambitions. It wouldn’t be the first time they’ve signed a player who they didn’t need but concluded the deal to prevent him signing elsewhere. Said player then played little football for Chelsea spending most of his time out on loan.

Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho mocks Spurs [Photo: Alan Hill]The “Special Happy One” didn’t take long to show his real colours once the season was under way. All sweetness and light on returning to Stamford Bridge –  he snarled and raged on the touchline against Aston Villa as Chelsea once again got the benefit of dubious refereeing decisions. Then in yesterday’s press conference he mocked Tottenham having hi-jacked Spurs’ signing of Willian. Chelsea’s behaviour in this deal imitates to arrogance of Real Madrid in their summer-long attempts to sign Gareth Bale, acting like a spoiled child who must always have their own way.

Daniel Levy

As reported in the Daily Mail, Daniel Levy was rightly angered by Chelsea’s actions. How will he respond? He could:

  • refuse to complete the deal with Madrid for Bale as Spurs have failed to sign the player they regarded as a replacement for him.
  • put in a bid of £50m to Manchester United for Chelsea target Wayne Rooney, suggests Alan
  • make Chelsea an offer for Juan Mata

It will also be a concern to Levy that the completion of the Bale deal to Madrid could spark some further deals with Arsenal possibly strengthening their side if Real reached agreement with them for the transfer of Karim Benzema and Angel Di Maria. That would be a double-whammy for Spurs and totally unacceptable – losing Bale with Arsenal making signings as a consequence of that deal.

Juan Mata

Juan Mata has been a lynch-pin in the Chelsea midfield since joining the club in 2011 and Mourinho stated that he was not for sale and wouldn’t be a part of any negotiations in a deal for Rooney. Mata has often shown his creative ability against Tottenham and when writing about Spurs lack of a creative midfield player I had been going to suggest that Mata could be a player to fill the role. At that time, however, it appeared that the deal for Willian had been completed so I focused on the strengths of the Brazilian.

Mata has the added benefit of having played two full seasons in the Premier League and so is well aware of the demands of football in England so should be able to adjust to a new team quite quickly. In 119 appearance for Chelsea he has scored 32 goals and has had an amazing 59 assists. With play like that Robeerto Soldado would have no problem in reaching his target of 20 Premier League goals in his first season at White Hart Lane.

Mata for White Hart Lane – we’ll be told that he wants Champions League football, just as any attempt to sign Rooney would also fail for that reason plus his wage demands.

New Targets

Moving on from the set-back Tottenham will focus of completing the deal for Erik Lamela from Roma in the coming week. The Italian club could provid another possible midfield option in Miralem Pjanic with the signing of central defender Vlad Chiriches from Steaua Bucharest also thought to be back on.