Manchester United Transfer Rumours: Red Devils Wise to Target Willian

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2013

KASPIYSK, RUSSIA - APRIL 07: Willian of FC Anzhi Makhachkala acknowledges fans before the start of the Russian Premier League match between FC Anzhi Makhachkala and FC Alania Vladikavkaz at the Anzhi Arena Stadium on April 07, 2013 in Kaspiysk, Russia.  (Photo by Sergey Rasulov Jr/Epsilon/Getty Images)
Epsilon/Getty Images

Manchester United may be readying their Premier League title defence without any major additions to the squad, but David Moyes still has time to secure new talent.

Next up on the new manager's radar: one Willian Borges da Silva.

As the summer transfer window heads towards it final flutter, the Red Devils are said to be interested in the Anzhi Makhachkala star, commonly known as Willian.

As reported by Chris Wheeler and Sam Mokbel of the Daily Mail, United could scupper Liverpool and Tottenham’s ambition to land the entertaining Brazilian.

Sky Sports describes the unfortunate situation Willian has found himself in at his rapidly changing team. Despite only arriving at the start of 2013, the influential playmaker has been given no choice but to leave by the club’s major power:

The highly-rated 25-year-old only moved to Anzhi from Shakhtar Donetsk in January but the Russian side are now looking to offload their star players, because billionaire owner Suleiman Kerimov is scaling back his financial commitment to the club.

Willian has confirmed his desire to move and has signalled Anfield as a preferable destination. He spoke to ESPN Brazil, as reported by Sky Sports:

Now I'm waiting for a new bid to arrive in the next days from a few clubs, like Liverpool.

If it's really Liverpool, then it is surely a great club. I'm hopeful and very calm, just waiting for the best.

The last part of Willian’s quote should alert United fans. It’s clear the 25-year-old is looking to continuously test his skills at the top level. Having already played in the Champions League for Shakhtar, it’s unlikely he will want to stay away from the competition for too long.

Should any bid from Manchester United arrive, Moyes’ men have a clear advantage over the other reported competitors. Not only is Champions League football guaranteed for the upcoming campaign, Willian is exactly the type of creative individual the Scot has been craving throughout preseason.

After revealing he is hunting the signature of Cesc Fabregas, Moyes has been forced to turn elsewhere after a second bid was rejected by Barcelona. Ian Ladyman of the Daily Mail suggests the English champions could return for one last bid, but Moyes would be smart to focus on the exciting acquisition of Shakhtar’s unwanted man.

For one, he is finally the type of target Manchester United can realistically land.

Moyes is known for utilising versatile attacking midfielders in a number of roles. The likes of Steven Pienaar, Kevin Mirallas and Leon Osman fulfilled a number of interchanging duties across the midfield and wings for his Everton side, a setup Willian can easily fit into at Old Trafford.

Although defensively weak, Willian is more than capable of adapting to positions behind Robin van Persie. Much like Shinji Kagawa, he can play as a central No. 10 or float in from the wing, with the retention of possession high on his list of priorities.

Moyes favours tidy, intelligent and energetic players. Willian is the type of individual who prioritises simple duties before turning on the style. As reported by, his completed pass accuracy of 85.7 percent and average of two key balls per match in the 2012-13 Champions League underlines a player who does more than score outrageous goals.

Much like Fabregas, Willian's natural willingness to roam between the midfield and forward lines often ensures the opposition’s defence have a difficult time maintaining a rigid line at the back. Presuming Van Persie is to start in attack by himself, and not alongside Wayne Rooney, it’s the creativity of players such as Willian that would make United tick.

Should Rooney leave the club, Willian is a ready-made replacement who already flaunts the confidence to be a huge success in England. What he lacks in bulk is more than made up for with technical prowess.

The player’s ability to keep hold of the ball has seen many alerted to his skills. He performed an average of three successful dribbles during last year’s European competition and scored four goals in six games.

The painstakingly-hard work of suggests he was the highest rated player of the Champions League group with a slew of performances that saw him outshine Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo until he left Ukraine.

Willian needs stability after his turmoil in Russia. Manchester United can offer everything he needs at this transitional time for both the club and individual. Alongside Moyes, Willian is also looking to imprint his name straight into the history books of his new employers.

Right now, the Brazilian maestro is not only a natural fit for the Red Devils, he could be the most realistic and affordable addition to end a summer of disappointment.

Is Willian a smart investment for Manchester United? Let me know in the comments section below and be sure to discuss the upcoming season with me on Twitter:


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