Willian
Willian has struggled for regular playing time at Chelsea Reuters

Ray Wilkins claims Chelsea star Willian is the "likely player" to head to Manchester United, but remains hopeful the Blues decide against sanctioning the Brazil international's sale to the Red Devils.

United manager Jose Mourinho signed the 29-year-old in 2013, when the Portuguese tactician was in charge at Stamford Bridge. Willian joined the Premier League winners from Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala.

The winger established himself as a regular under Mourinho at Chelsea. However, he has struggled to replicate the same under his successor, Antonio Conte. The attacker has made only eight starts in the Premier League this season.

Mourinho is an admirer of Willian and the player confirmed the Red Devils boss tried to sign him for United. He has been linked with United ever since his former manager took charge at the club.

Wilkins, who played for the Old Trafford club and Chelsea, has backed the South American star to reunite with his former manager at United.

"I actually see Willian as being the likely player to head to Old Trafford. Jose is an enormous admirer of Willian and he would be a special signing for United, but I pray that Chelsea don't let him go," Wilkins said during a wide-ranging interview with Sporting Bet.

Willian has made 25 appearances in all competitions, which include 12 starts – two of which were in the Community Shield and the Carabao Cup. He is behind Chelsea star Eden Hazard and Spain international Pedro in the pecking order at the Bridge.

Wilkins believes the former Shakhtar Donetsk man will struggle to make his way into the starting XI, especially with Hazard and Pedro shining for Chelsea when they are on the pitch.

"I'm an enormous fan of Willian. He dragged that Chelsea team over the finish line a couple of seasons ago. He's a wonderful player," he explained.

"Against Qarabag he was absolutely outstanding. His goal was a fluke, no doubt about it, but he's got another point for the club. He should be playing more but it's a game of opinions, and the only one that matters is the manager.

"Pedro has been outstanding and Hazard you can't leave out, so he's going to struggle to get in the team. I think Chelsea should go 4-4-2 though. At Stamford Bridge, they should be more attacking and go for it, sling in all the attacking players and have a goal fest.

"Chelsea don't need to pack out the midfield with players, as they dominate possession most of the time at home anyway. They're playing reserved, just go for it. Italian coaches are much more cagey, looking at the tactical aspects, but sometime you just need to let players loose.

"Willian has to get over the fact he's not playing. As long as he performs when he gets on the pitch, he'll get more opportunities."