Chelsea and Arsenal face tug-of-war over Willian

Apr 13, 2011
Bill Mann

Transfer Talk: Denilson urges fellow Brazilian Willian to choose Arsenal; Rafinha also a target

Brazilian striker Willian has been advised by Denilson to forsake Chelsea for Arsenal. The 22-year-old Willian, currently tearing up the Ukrainian league with Shakhtar Donetsk, was linked last week with a summer move to Stamford Bridge, but now Arsenal midfielder Denilson has told his compatriot he should head for the Emirates.

Tribal Football quotes the Gunner as saying: "Willian would be perfect for Arsenal. I know him well from the Brazil team and he has a real winning mentality."

It's true Arsenal could do with a few players possessed of a "winning mentality" but then so could Chelsea, as their defeat last night to Manchester United in the Champions League demonstrated. It looks like it will be a right old tug-of-war between the two London clubs for Willian's signature.

Says Denilson: "I've spoken to him and told him that he could be a success with us. I think he would definitely make our team stronger.

"I believe his style would fit much better at Arsenal because of the way we play football. He has great vision and ability. I think he's one of the best creative players I have played with."

Meanwhile it's claimed in the Spanish press that Arsenal are one of a number of clubs in the hunt for Barcelona's Rafinha. The 18-year-old attacking midfielder, brother of Barca midfielder Thiago, is said to be on the brink of greatness having starred for the Barcelona youth team this season.

As a result, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea are all on his tail, which is music to the ears of Rafinha's father, Mazinho, a member of the Brazil side that won the 1994 World Cup. "They are not similar," he said when asked to compare his two boys. "Thiago is better tactically and has more work in his game. Rafa is very good on the ball, like I was." Though Rafinha is the son of a Brazilian star, he was born in Italy and has represented Spain at youth level.

Meanwhile, the respected organ, France Football, reports that Lyon keeper Hugo Lloris adeptly sidestepped any questions over his purported move to Manchester United during an interview. The 24-year-old Lloris, France's No 1 goalie, has been linked with a move to Old Trafford ever since Edwin van der Sar announced his decision to stand down at the end of the season, but the Frenchman is keeping mum for the time being about where he may be next season.

"I feel perfectly happy at Lyon. I have everything I need to help me improve and blossom, so I haven't asked any questions about my future," he said. "Do I see myself being at Lyon long-term? I don't think like that, I think only about tomorrow. That allows me to be focused and not waste too much energy."

Finally, Talksport reports that United are vying with Tottenham for the right to sign Dutch defender Vurnon Anita. The 22-year-old Ajax star, as comfortable at centre half as he is right back, won his first cap for Holland last season and his stock has been rising ever since.

Apparently French outfit Marseille are also circling Anita and Ajax are confident that they will be able to make at least £8m when they sell him in the summer.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

One-Minute Read