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The Brazilian playmaker confirms that he would "accept and enjoy" the challenge of joining the Blues with speculation linking him with a deal worth upwards of £20 million

Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Willian has expressed his desire to join Chelsea during the January transfer window.

Blues manager Andre Villas-Boas is believed to have had a bid in the region of £16.5 million already rejected for the Brazilian, with the release clause in the player's contract standing at £29m.

"Chelsea are known as one of the biggest and most successful clubs around," Willian told The Sun.

"If a deal doesn't go through, I'll understand. But I hope it happens.

"They have a culture of winning trophies and that excites me. To play for them is a challenge I would accept and enjoy."

Willian revealed that he had spoken with Brazil team-mates David Luiz and Ramires regarding a potential move, and had heard only glowing reports of the club and Villas-Boas.

"I have friends in the Brazil side who play for Chelsea, like David and Ramires," Willian said. "All they talk about is the thrill of being in a city like London and playing for a club like Chelsea.

"I've known David since we played together in the Brazil under-20 side and he talks about what Villas-Boas is trying to build at Chelsea.

"He and Ramires feel he wants a core of young players who can mature and grow together but also be successful.

"David says how the coach takes a real interest in all his players, how he can adapt different cultures together and bring the best out of them."

The 23-year-old insisted he was not worried about the challenges the Premier League might present, and hoped that playing in a bigger league would help him establish himself with the Brazilian national team.

"Then obviously there is life in London. David and Ramires say there's nothing like it anywhere else in the world — it's exciting and challenging at the same time.

"I wouldn't have any fears about coming to England because I have played against English sides in the Champions League and studied the English game.

"To play in a league that is seen throughout the world would be good for my hopes of playing regularly for Brazil, especially with the World Cup at home in two years' time.

"That is my aim. I've worked hard for four years to establish myself in the national team.

"It has taken that long but now I feel I have a good relationship with the coach and I want to keep working hard, so I remain in the side."

Willian went on to express his gratitude at the opportunities he had received by taking a more unorthodox route into European football with Shakhtar.

"There are times when you look at your life and realise how lucky you've been," he said.

"I've played for a great club in Corinthians and been successful. I moved to Shakhtar and that turned into a great move too.

"There was talk about Barcelona and Arsenal before but now Chelsea are interested. If the next step of the adventure is England, then I would be excited by that."

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