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Tottenham and Chelsea fall out over Willian

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English Premier League clubs appear to be engaged in a tug of love for Brazilian forward Willian. Liverpool were closing in on his signature a couple of weeks ago, before Tottenham seemed to hijack the move, putting in a £30 million offer and even getting the player to undertake a medical.

Tottenham now appear to have been gazumped though by an audacious late move by Chelsea to snatch the player from under their noses. It helps that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has the home number of fellow Russian oligarch Suleyman Kerimov, the owner of Anzhi Makhachkala, who currently hold the Brazilian's contract. One call from Abramovich and Willian was changing his travel plans from north to west London.

Tottenham are predictably outraged by this turn of events, with Daniel Levy, the chairman, particularly incensed. The suggestion is that Chelsea were not really interested in the player, merely wielding their financial clout to prevent Tottenham from strengthening an already formidable squad. Willian will join a long list of Chelsea players challenging for the first team in his position.

It hardly helped that Jose Mourinho was less than diplomatic about his glee at snatching Willian away from Tottenham. He was unapologetic, implying that Tottenham should have been a little more discreet with the deal, and laughingly agreeing with the suggestion that Willian had chosen Chelsea ahead of Tottenham. "The best thing you can do is do the medical in secret," he said. "And after that sign the contract with the club and the player. Sometimes you don't make it. That's the risk."

The rivalry between the two clubs has intensified in recent seasons. The latest events will not make relations any better. Mourinho confirmed that Chelsea will also maintain their interest in signing Wayne Rooney, even though Manchester United have turned them down twice.

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