We here at Cartilage Free Captain haven't really addressed the rumors surrounding the move of Shakhtar Donetsk attacking midfielder/winger Willian Borges da Silva, but with more trustworthy news sources (and the Daily Mail) picking up the story it seems like it's time we spoke out about it. I think I speak for the entire staff when I say that this is awesome!
The 24 year-old Brazilian plays primarily as a left midfielder for Shakhtar, but is also capable of playing right midfield and in a more central role. For the record, the Daily Mail basically calls him a Luka Modric replacement, which to me is an absolutely ridiculous assertion. From what I've seen of Willian he's an excellent dribbler and crosser with lots of pace.
He has a pretty high workrate and playing in a physical Ukraine league (the eighth best league in Europe by UEFA coefficient) would certainly help ease his transition to the English game. He's very creative and the type of tricky winger who provide an excellent complement to the straight-line speed of Aaron Lennon and/or the power of Gareth Bale. However, Willian is not a deep-lying playmaker.
The sticking point in this transfer deal seems to be the Ukrainian club's asking price of £20 million. Willian would be a heck of a buy at almost any price and now that the club has signed Emmanuel Adebayor it's hard for me to complain that we should be using this money for a striker even though I really wish we would. Either way, the rumor mill is starting to get exciting around White Hart Lane. Can you imagine if we bring in both Leandro Damiao and Willian? How exciting would that be?
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