|Willian briefly entered free agency before signing for Fulham again (Image: Getty Images)|
Fulham fans will be sorely disappointed to hear winger Willian has agreed personal terms to join a Saudi Arabian suitor - just a fortnight after rejoining the Cottagers.
Marco Silva looks likely to be forced back into the transfer market after Willian informed Fulham he wants to leave the club - despite having only signed a new deal for the west Londoners last month.
The former Chelsea and Arsenal winger put pen to paper over a new one-year deal at Craven Cottage on July 17, having emerged as a key player for Silva last season. Willian became a free agent after helping Fulham finish 10th in the Premier League last term, only to perform a U-turn and extend his stay two weeks ago.
However, it appears those negotiations were in vein after it emerged Saudi Pro League outfit Al-Shabab have held talks with the player. The Telegraph reported Willian has been offered the chance to double his wages in Riyadh.
And it appears he's fully on board with the move after journalist Fabrizio Romano reported terms have been agreed between player and club. That being said, Fulham remain out of the loop and are now in an awkward position just one week before the Premier League season gets underway.
One would forgive the Cottagers for feeling betrayed by the development, regardless of how tempting Al-Shabab's offer is. Willian offers little resale value given he turns 35 on August 9, but he highlighted last term the class he can still bring to Silva's attack.
Fulham already missed one chance to strengthen their wings this season when former loanee Manor Solomon opted to join Tottenham in a permanent deal instead. And this latest news leaves Silva with little time to secure an adequate replacement if Willian does leave.
On the flip side, the move could work in Fulham's favour if they manage to secure a significant fee for the player. Saudi clubs have spent en masse to acquire a flood of European-based talent this summer, at times paying over the odds to get players out of their contracts.
Aside from any wages owed to the player from the past month, it means the west Londoners could turn a quick profit on Willian. However, it remains to be seen how much Al-Shabab would be willing to stump up in order to convince Fulham to sell.
“I am completely happy. Happy to sign one more year with Fulham," said Willian only a few weeks ago when he announced he'd be returning to Craven Cottage next term.
“Happy to continue the work that I did last season with all my team-mates and the whole club. I think it’s a club that can do even better this season, so I’m happy to continue this amazing adventure.”
Not for the first time in football this summer, Al-Shabab's interest in his services has proved money talks loudest of all. And right now, the Saudi Pro League has the kind of funds necessary to make its voice heard.