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Why after FOUR bids Chelsea owner Abramovich won't give up on Willian

Lock it in: Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich wants Willian.

Shakhtar Donetsk supremo Rinat Akhmetov - worth a cool $16 billion - has already admitted as much in the last week.

"He also said that he is a very good player," said Akhmetov of his meeting with Abramovich, before adding he wouldn't budge on his €30 million valuation.

"But, as I understand it, they are not going to pay this kind of money. And I know that we're not going to sell Willian for a lesser sum."

The problem for Akhmetov is that Willian has had enough and wants to leave Shakhtar this summer.

Abramovich's latest offer was €25 million - his FOURTH for the Brazilian in recent months. The Russian billionaire wants to bring Willian to London this summer and after five years of loyal service, the midfielder and his family want to see the deal happen.

"I grew up with the club and won titles here.

"I helped them during these years, so I hope they can help me now. I cannot complain, I was always treated well and paid well, but it's time to make a jump in my career. My cycle is ending here," explained Willian to Globoesporte.

The 23 year-old has been angling for a move away from Donetsk since the New Year. His wife Vanessa gave birth to twin daughters Manuella and Valentina in February and they feel its time for a new chapter in their lives.

"It's something that weighs on us a lot. It would not be the main reason, but imagine how difficult it would be if we wanted to return to Brazil? I have shown and explained all the conditions to the club."

Frustrating for Willian is that he can see the huge profit Shakhtar stand to make if they accept Chelsea's offer now.

Shakhtar paid Corinthians just under €8 million for Willian in 2007, making him one of the first big money foreign signings of the Akhmetov era.

As he mentions, Willian blazed a trail, becoming the first Brazilian to make the move to Shakhtar, overcoming the many difficulties associated with such a transfer to lay the foundations for others to follow. Five years on, there are now EIGHT Brazilians on the books and ten titles in the club's trophy cabinet.

"When I came here nobody knew about Shakhtar, not in Brazil nor in Europe as well. The club's image has grown a lot and we have won major titles like the UEFA Cup. When I arrived, the teams here did not have much quality," recalled Willian, who also admits he's had to battle racism.

"It's happened. Not just once, but several times, especially away from home. When will you take a corner and are close to the fans, they are imitating a monkey. Not just for me. But for Fernandinho, Luiz Adriano and Douglas Costa."

Now he hopes Akhmetov can recognise his contribution and relent on his valuation. He warns the situation is damaging Shakhtar's reputation and that players back home could be put off from moving to Ukraine should he be forced to stay.

"It is always difficult to negotiate here, there is a history with several players who have been frozen out, like Matuzalem and Elano.

"I fear for the reputation of the club. The new ones coming from Brazil may reject the club and look the other way. I've been here for five years and the four proposals from Chelsea were regarded insufficient.

"Who wants to come here to get stuck? The board might want to think about that ..."

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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