LONDON - William failed to report for training at Chelsea after the Real Madrid target found his passport had expired. The Brazil winger was due to arrive at the club’s Cobham base last Friday after his post-World Cup holiday.
Chelsea insist there is nothing untoward about the 29-year-old’s delayed arrival. They say he told them in advance and he has stayed in contact. Willian was the subject of a £65million bid from Real, while Barcelona and Manchester United have also shown interest.
Insiders last night denied any similarities between this situation and the one that saw Diego Costa go on strike, though the concern is that the hiatus could impact on Willian’s fitness. New manager Maurizio Sarri is known to want to use the winger in Chelsea’s first Premier League fixture at Huddersfield Town.
Willian will now have to get up to speed with Sarri’s tactics as quickly as possible to make that trip on August 11. The two-time Premier League winner is expected at Cobham Wednesday after the problem with his expired passport was resolved.
Willian will not be in Dublin for Wenesday's International Champions Cup match against Arsenal at the Aviva Stadium, but will report for pre-season tests in London. Chelsea face Manchester City in the Community Shield on Sunday, though some World Cup players will not be back in time.
That includes Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois, who may miss the start of the league season. Barcelona were interested in Willian but balked at Chelsea’s £70m valuation. They signed Bordeaux’s Malcom for £36.5m instead last week.
Talks with Real are ongoing, after the Spanish giants offered £100m for Willian and keeper Courtois. It remains to be seen whether Jose Mourinho’s United will follow up on their initial interest.