If Willian's first goal against Roma for Shakhtar in the second-leg of the Last 16 of the 2010-11 Champions League was slightly fortuitous – Thomas Hubschmann stepping over his cross which then found the far corner -then his second showed why Chelsea are said to be desperate to secure his signature.
Arriving unmarked at the back post in the 58th minute, he killed the corner with his right instep, took a quick look at the goal and used the same part of his foot to guide a curling volley over the heads of the Roma defence and into the top corner. Game over.
Wearing the number 10, Willian switches between the flanks and the hole in a ridiculously fluid Shakhtar team that includes compatriots Douglas Costa, Fernadinho and, despite what his passport says, Eduardo. Shakhtar crushed Roma, and tonight will get the opportunity to see how their Eastern European brand of total football stacks up against that of Barcelona.
Despite the fleeting visit of Robinho, the type of Brazilian signed in recent years by English clubs have been decidedly English in their playing style...
Despite claims that they merely flash the cash, the scouting network of Shakhtar unearthed a gem in Willian. Not as feted as Douglas Costa or Neymar, the 5’8” winger had only made 16 appearances for Corinthians when Shakhtar spent a rumoured £12 million to take him to Eastern Europe in 2007.
Since then they have won the Ukranian Premier League twice in three seasons, with Willian increasingly influential. But how will he fit in at Chelsea?
Villas-Boas' first option would be a balls out 4-4-2, with Willian and either Malouda or Kalou on the flanks and any of his six strikers dovetailing up front. His second, and more likely option, will be an expansive 4-4-3 formation that sees Willian and one of the others interchanging positions around Torres. This would allow El Nino/Lukaku/Drogba to play in the preferred lone striker role and also Villas-Boas to maintain a semblance of security with three screening players behind.
Whatever happens, it is clear that the times they are a changin’. Despite the fleeting visit of Robinho, the type of Brazilian signed in recent years by English clubs have been decidedly English in their playing style. And while Lucas, Ramires, Denilson and now Sandro are, at their best, vital players for their respective clubs, they could never be accused of arousing goosebumps.
And the player himself seems interested, saying: "Chelsea's interest makes me happy, but there is nothing concrete as yet. There is no offer. It makes me happy, though, because it means my efforts are receiving recognition. There are some Brazilians there and they have great players. Chelsea are a big club in England."
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