Twist in Willian tale as Fulham will force winger to stay amid attempted Saudi ditch

Ciaran McCarthy
Willian, Fulham, March 2023
Willian watching play

Fulham will reportedly ‘resist any offer’ for Willian this summer, after he communicated his wish to leave them just weeks after rejoining in order to move to Saudi side Al Shabab.

Saudi Pro League sides are doing a lot of business with European outfits this summer. The likes of Karim Benzema, Kalidou Koulibaly and Ruben Neves have all moved to Saudi sides of late.

Those are just a few examples of the masses that have upped sticks in order to play in Saudi Arabia. However, one man that won’t be allowed to make a similar move is Fulham’s Willian.

That comes courtesy of a report from the Evening Standard, who state the Cottagers will ‘resist any offer’ for the winger this summer, after Al Shabab approached him and offered to double his wages.

It was reported recently that Willian had communicated his intention to leave Fulham, having ‘agreed personal terms’ with Al Shabab.

That’ll have come as a shock to the Londoners, as he only rejoined them a few weeks ago. Indeed, the Brazilian’s initial contract – lasting a year – ran out this summer, and he turned down an offer to extend.

However, that he then accepted Fulham’s next offer means it’ll have been very surprising when he decided he wanted to leave for Al Shabab.

While Fulham could now accept an offer from them on the principle that they may not want players with a lack of loyalty playing for them, it makes sense as to why they’d want to keep him around.

They obviously want him to continue having an impact for them – he was directly involved in 11 goals last season – or they’d not have offered him a new deal on more than one occasion.

As such, while he clearly wants to be able to try his hand in Saudi Arabia, and reap the rewards of a contract worth double what he earns now, Fulham will remain stern and turn down any offer Al Shabab – or any other side – are to make.

Whether or not the Cottagers get the same player that helped them to a 10th-placed Premier League finish next season as a result remains to be seen.

It would be expected that he’d try his best for his side, and they’ll hope that’s what happens despite them – fairly enough given he agreed to stay with them – forcing him to remain.

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