The Brazilian international has been a long-term target for Blues owner Roman Abramovich and has finally made his move with manager Roberto Di Matteo’s search for a striker hitting the buffers in recent weeks.
Abramovich has already spent £40m on Eden Hazard and Marko Marin this summer but is prepared to splash out to ensure the club has enough striking talent to mount a serious challenge for the Premier League title.
The Russian oligarch saw his opening bid for the talented 23-year-old rejected by Shaktar and has been told by Lucescu that they must stump up £32m to prise him away.
“I had a conversation with Willian and the club president about Chelsea’s interest,” the Romanian said. “I told Willian he can leave, but only if the right offer is made. He’s a great player.”
“Willian was the biggest investment Shakhtar have made in a young player, and we have to respect that. Clubs should not assume that if a player is coming from the east that the the price is lower.
‘They paid a lot of money for Hazard but are not willing to pay that for Willian, even though he’s better in my opinion.”
Abramovich saw a £16.7m approach for Willian knocked back in the January transfer window but is confident of securing his signature before the new season kicks off in August.
Several of Europe’s top forwards have been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge with Porto striker Hulk thought to be on the verge of completing a deal last month.
Di Matteo’s interest has since cooled in the 25-year-old after growing frustrated with the Portuguese club who are demanding £40m for the Brazilian international.