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After late Chelsea arrival, Willian wants legal action in separate issue

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Willian has yet to arrive back at Chelsea for preseason and has upset his new manager Maurizio Sarri, who said he wasn’t happy with the situation after the Blues defeat to Arsenal in a penalty shootout in Dublin on Wednesday.

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The Brazilian international failed to return to the team, as expected, last Friday, but it appears he has bigger fish to fry.

Willian, 29, released a statement calling for legal action as a document appearing to show a change of agent on his behalf was circulated.

“In the recent days I have been informed that a ‘letter of authorization for player agent FIFA,’ allegedly signed in my name has been circulated through the football market. In such letter, Mr. Denirobson Dias would grant an authorization to Mr. Renee Pinheiro Anunciacao to represent me until 15 August 2018, throughout football clubs in the United Kingdom and France. I would like to clarify that I never signed such letter, the content of which I completely deny. Finally, since there seem to be clear evidence that my signature has been forged, or anyway misused, I hereby inform that my lawyers are already instructed to proceed with all appropriate legal measures before any competent courts or authorities. I hope I have clarified the matter and any possible misunderstanding.”

Now, this doesn’t change the fact that Willian has yet to return to Chelsea for preseason, but it could explain his extended vacation as he tries to sort things out.

Sarri is certainly looking for an explanation to what he called a “strange” situation.

However, chuck in the fact that Willian has been linked with a transfer to both Manchester United and Barcelona this summer and plenty of fuel has been added to the fire with some suggesting that Chelsea’s two-time Premier League winner doesn’t want to return to Stamford Bridge.

In the post released on Instagram on Thursday, Willian said the following about his issue with the fake letter.

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In the recent days I have been informed that a “letter of authorization for player agent FIFA”, allegedly signed in my name has been circulated through the football market. In such letter, Mr. Denirobson Dias would grant an authorization to Mr. Renee Pinheiro Anunciação to represent me until 15 August 2018, throughout football clubs in the United Kingdom and France. I would like to clarify that I never signed such letter, the content of which I completely deny. Finally, since there seem to be clear evidence that my signature has been forged, or anyway misused, I hereby inform that my lawyers are already instructed to proceed with all appropriate legal measures before any competent courts or authorities. I hope I have clarified the matter and any possible misunderstanding. Willian Borges da Silva Nos últimos dias fui informado de que uma “carta de autorização para agente de jogadores FIFA”, supostamente assinada por mim, está circulando pelo mercado do futebol. Na referida carta, o Sr. Denirobson Dias concede uma autorização ao Sr. Renee Pinheiro Anunciação para me representar até 15 de agosto de 2018, perante os clubes do Reino Unido e França. Gostaria de esclarecer que nunca assinei tal carta, cujo conteúdo nego completamente. Finalmente, uma vez que parece haver provas claras de que a minha assinatura foi falsificada, ou de qualquer forma mal utilizada, informo que meus advogados já estão instruídos a proceder com todas as medidas legais cabíveis perante quaisquer tribunais ou autoridades competentes. Espero ter esclarecido o assunto e qualquer possível mal-entendido. Willian Borges da Silva

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Leicester City’s Rodgers: ‘Good news’ on Vardy injury

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Brendan Rodgers says there’s good news when it comes to the injury suffered by Jamie Vardy in Leicester City’s 4-1 blowout of West Ham United on Wednesday.

Vardy hurt his glute in the win, temporarily returning to the match after treatment from the trainer but ultimately subbing off before halftime.

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“It wasn’t his hamstring, so that’s good news for us,” Rodgers said, via The Leicester Mercury.

“He just felt a twinge in his glute, so we just have to wait and see on that in the next day or so. Thankfully his hamstring is okay and he just felt some pain in his glute, so we will have to assess that over the next few days.”

Vardy has a Premier League-best 17 goals, one more than Man City’s Sergio Aguero.

He was replaced by Kelechi Iheanacho, who assisted one of Ayoze Perez’s two goals on the day. Perez’s seven goals are second on Leicester, while James Maddison‘s six are third.

Iheanacho has six goals and three assists in 485 minutes and there’s reason to believe he can feast off Leicester’s playmaking if Vardy needs a match or two to heal.

Whether he can fill Vardy’s shoes in the long-term is a big question, especially as Leicester aims to return for the Champions League.

Transfer rumor roundup: Willian Jose to Spurs, Bournemouth after Croatian CB

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London could get itself another Willian.

Willian Jose, 28, was left out of Real Sociedad’s squad at his request on Wednesday, with the club Tweeting that he’d prefer not to play until his situation is resolved.

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Jose Mourinho said he would not comment on another team’s players, but Willian Jose could help Spurs bridge the gap to Harry Kane‘s return.

Willian Jose has been a double-digit scorer for Real Sociedad in La Liga for the previous three seasons, and is well on his way to another 10-goal campaign. He’s got eight goals in 20 matches this season.

Bournemouth needs defensive help, and is reportedly rivaling Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers for Portuguese giant Toni Borevkovic.

The 22-year-old Croatian has one goal in just over 3000 minutes with the side since arriving from domestic side NK Rudes.

He’s averaging 1.3 interceptions, .9 tackles, and 3.3 clearances per game in league play.

Rio Ave sits seventh in Portugal’s top flight and is managed by former Premier League boss Carlos Carvalhal.

Dropped points in Top Four race point to wild February

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Regardless of whether Wolves end Liverpool’s unbeaten Premier League season on Thursday, there will be five teams within seven points of fourth place heading into Matchweek 25.

Chelsea has 40, a comfortable-enough six-point lead on Manchester United, Spurs, and Wolves (who meet Liverpool at 3 p.m. ET Thursday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com). Sheffield United has 33 points.

February, specifically the next three matchweeks, will see the teams inside that group learn a lot more about their fates, and give Chelsea and Sheffield United big opportunities to cement their places in the Top Four and Seven, respectively.

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In the case of the latter, it’s because the Blades are the only team in the bunch who don’t face a Top Four six-pointer; Chris Wilder‘s men will meet Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, and Brighton, while the others will be beating up each other.

Chelsea’s path is fraught, but a big opportunity. The Blues travel to Leicester City before hosting both Manchester United and Spurs. Nine points there would effectively Top Four-proof Frank Lampard‘s side.

By the way, how’s this for a hot take? If any of Chelsea, Man Utd, or Spurs find their center forward or playmaker help in the window, they’ll have a leg up on their Top Four rivals. And, really, is that extra few million pounds worth the spoils of the Champions League? Yup.

Bruno Fernandes is not (yet) with United, and the Red Devils face Wolves and Chelsea in their next two matches. Spurs have City and Chelsea. Tumult is probable!

A draw with Newcastle and loss at Watford dampened Wolves’ hopes of riding into fourth. Beginning with Thursday’s visit from Liverpool, however, Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men face three of the Top Seven and then a visit from Norwich City. It’s not over.

And don’t entirely rule out Leicester City from dropping into the fray; The Foxes host Chelsea and Man City, and visit Wolves.

One more nod, however improbable: Arsenal sits 10 points back of fourth but meets Burnley, Newcastle, and Everton over those three match weeks. A perfect run could have the Gunners thinking big (Man City is after that, alas).

Matchday 25
Leicester City v. Chelsea
Crystal Palace v. Sheffield United
Manchester United v. Wolves
Spurs v. Man City

Matchday 25
Sheffield United v. Bournemouth
Wolves v. Leicester City
Chelsea v. Manchester United
Aston Villa v. Tottenham Hotspur

Matchday 27
Chelsea v. Tottenham Hotspur
Leicester City v. Man City
Wolves v. Norwich City
Sheffield United v. Brighton
Manchester United v. Watford

Spurs play Wolves the next week, too!

Mourinho: Spurs don’t have attacking depth, but do have ‘family’

Mourinho on Spurs win
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In this “whole new Jose Mourinho” world, the key word is family.

Mourinho said it six times in his post-match presser after Tottenham Hotspur scrapped to a 2-1 defeat of Norwich City on Wednesday in London.

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Spurs had an early lead disappear when Ryan Sessegnon gave away a penalty to Max Aarons, and Teemu Pukki converted it for a 70th-minute deadlock.

Heung-Min Son scored nine minutes later. It was a win that is good for the whole family.

From Football.London:

“It was fantastic what happened after the 1-1, which happens in a difficult moment for us where I look to the bench and I don’t have attacking players to change the game the team is a little bit fatigued, especially Lucas, Son and of course Lamela. I took him off because he was in trouble and he is a player who is coming from very important and long injury, so very difficult.

“How can we change the game? With the family spirit, the family character and desire.”

Mourinho also praised Giovani Lo Celso‘s work on the wing for attack-short Spurs as “a good experience for the family,” and Paulo Gazzaniga‘s support for returned goalkeeper Hugo Lloris as “a good member of the family and he is such a special friend of Hugo.”

I mean, I’m getting the warm and fuzzies.

Clearly, Mourinho is stressing unity and there’s a bit of bunker mentality involved, as the manager mentioned some dicey calls not going their way against Watford, Liverpool, and now Norwich.