Willian 'never wanted to leave Chelsea' amid Man Utd, Real Madrid & Barcelona transfer talk

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The Brazil international saw a move away from Stamford Bridge mooted over the summer, but he maintains that exit speculation was not sparked by him

Willian claims to have “never said that I want to leave Chelsea”, with the Brazilian having been heavily linked with Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The 30-year-old forward established himself as a key figure at Stamford Bridge during the 2017-18 campaign, with regular game time allowing him to find consistency in his game.

A personal best return of 13 goals was recorded as a result, along with eight assists across Premier League and Champions League competition.

That fine form sparked talk of a possible reunion with former Blues boss Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford, while La Liga heavyweights Real and Barca were also said to be keen as they scoured the market for attacking reinforcements.

No deal was done and Willian, who has now spent five years on the books at Chelsea, is delighted to have stayed put.

He told the club’s official website:  “A lot of people they say a lot of things in the press, but I never said that I want to leave Chelsea, never.

“Always I say that I want to stay at Chelsea as long as possible, and I am happy to stay here.”

Willian, who was snapped up for £30 million ($39m) from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013, is fast closing in on 250 appearances for Chelsea.

He hopes there will be many more to come, with his current deal set to keep him in west London until at least 2020.

“When I arrived here my plan was to stay here as long as possible and now I am here five years I hope to stay five more!” Willian added.

“I know I have two years of contract left but I hope to stay more years in the Premier League.

“I am very happy to be here five years. I have won titles and played a lot of games with a lot of happy moments, and a few sad moments as well but that is part of football, but these five years have been very good for me and I am proud to be a Chelsea player.”

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Willian has helped Maurizio Sarri’s side to make a faultless start to their 2018-19 campaign, with four successive victories secured heading into the first international break.

The Blues will return to action on Saturday with a home date against Cardiff.

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