Barcelona have long been linked with Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho. However, Liverpool's reluctance to sell means that the Catalan giants have turned their attention to Chelsea star Willian.The Brazilian has struggled for regular playing time this season and Ernesto Valverde is reportedly keen on getting the winger to Barcelona in January according to reports in Goal.com
The 29-year-old has also been linked to Manchester United but Chelsea would prefer selling the tricky winger to Barcelona rather than their direct rivals in the Premier League. Willian has started only 7 times for Chelsea this season, however he has contributed whenever he has got the chance scoring 4 goals so far.
With the World Cup coming up next year, Willian is reportedly keen on getting some regular playing time. However, Antonio Conte does not want to tinker with his new 3-5-2 formation and this has reportedly led to Willian being unsettled at Stamford Bridge.
Also, although Barcelona prefer Coutinho, Willian will be a much cheaper alternative as the Chelsea star is only expected to cost around £45 million. Barcelona CEO Oscar Grau even said that the Catalan giants are eyeing a big signing in January:
"We are ready to buy Coutinho in the winter market, or any player the technical staff request," Grau said.
Willian and Coutinho both share the same agent, Giuliano Bertolucci. Bertolucci was also crucial in completing Paulinho's move in the summer and Barcelona will be hoping that he repeats the same thing with either one of Willian and Coutinho.
Coutinho is still undoubtedly Barcelona's number 1 target, but a deal for Willian could be much less complicated as Antonio Conte is reportedly ready to greenlight his sale in the January transfer window.