According to The Chronicle’s Mark Douglas, a club record move for Brazilian striker Willian Jose was one of the deals ‘discussed’ at NUFC – however the a deal failed to materialise, with Benitez signing Salomon Rondon on loan instead.
A line from the Fans Forum minutes stated that the club discussed a ‘number of other striking options’ over the summer, stating ‘some of which were well above the club’s transfer record’, and it looks like the prolific Real Sociedad striker was one of them.
Willian Jose boasts an impressive record in Spain, scoring 20 goals last season and 14 the year before – having netted just shy of 40 goals in 80 games for the La Liga side.
Here’s a snippet from Mark Douglas during his Q&A today for The Chronicle, confirming that Willian Jose was one of Rafa’s ambitious summer targets:
“Here’s a line from the Fans Forum: “The club discussed a number of other striking options, some of which were well above and beyond the club’s current transfer record.”
“I understand Willian Jose was one of those ‘discussed’. But a deal didn’t happen for whatever reason – and Benitez really believed Rondon would be they key to making United tick.”
We had been linked with a move for the 6ft 2′ forward over the past few windows, so I’m sure there was interest there, however you have to question just how likely we ever were to pay his asking price.
With Transermarkt valuing him at £22m, it’s no surprise Ashley opted to go for the inexpensive alternative in Rondon on loan.
It sounds like Rondon was very much one of Rafa’s top targets in the striking department, but I’m pretty sure Benitez would’ve preferred to see us sign a proven goalscorer in Willian Jose if he had the option.