Chelsea winger Willian has upset Chelsea fans with an Instagram post following The Blues’ FA Cup victory over Manchester United on Saturday. The Brazilian was left out of the starting line-up by manager Antonio Conte and only came on in the last 10 minutes. In return, Willian appeared to block out his manager with emojis, and this has rubbed supporters on social media the wrong way.
There have been rumours that the relationship between the manager and the player hasn’t been all that good in the past couple of months, with Willian not being a regular started in every game. With Alvaro Morata misfiring, Conte has had to play Olivier Giroud as the first-choice striker. The 3-5-2 system has been the Italian’s trusted way to go, especially in the big games. With Eden Hazard playing just behind the front man, there hasn’t been a spot for Willian in the first XI. This is a formula that surely has worked, as recent victories against Liverpool and then on Saturday against United show.
Both Conte and Willian’s futures at Stamford Bridge are in doubt ahead of the new season. The manager is playing a waiting game to see what the board decides after only managing a fifth-placed finish, and failing to qualifying for next year’s Champions League as a result. There have been reports that Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri could be in line to replace his compatriot in West London. It should become clear in the coming days whether he will continue or not at Chelsea, with one year still left on the three-year deal he signed in the summer of 2016. After winning the title in his debut year, Conte appeared to lose his passion and drive in the second, and also made a host of team selection errors through the season.
Willian, on the other hand, is wanted by his old manager Jose Mourinho, at Manchester United. The player was seeing smiling and hugging Mourinho both before and after the cup final. The Portuguese is a known admirer of Willian’s skill and work rate, which formed a cornerstone of his title-winning Chelsea team of 2015. Even though the 29 year-old doesn’t contribute enough in terms of goals and assists, he fits Mourinho’s bill by tracking back and fulfilling his defensive duties. In all, he has scored only 44 goals in competitions since joining The Blues back in 2013. According to Sky Sports, he wants to bring his time at Stamford Bridge to an end, if Conte continues as manager.
There have been rumours in the past couple of months, of a possible trade between the clubs, with Willian going to Old Trafford and Anthony Martial heading south. Of course, with the latter being much younger and more valuable in the market, Chelsea will need to also make a cash payment of some sort to make this deal happen.
Willian won the Chelsea Players’ Player of the Year award earlier this month, but not too many of his teammates will be happy with his latest antic. He has since removed that image from his Instagram, but the damage may already have been done.
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