Willian has failed to report for training at Chelsea after the Real Madrid target suffered issues with his passport, potentially disrupting plans for the start of the season.
The Brazil international was due to arrive at the club’s Cobham base on Friday following his post-World Cup holidays but has not been able to turn up.
Chelsea insist there is nothing untoward about the 29-year-old’s delayed arrival for pre-season. They say he told them in advance and has stayed in constant contact.
Willian has been the subject of a £65million bid from La Liga giants Real this summer, while Barcelona and Manchester United have also shown an interest.
Insiders denied any similarities between this situation and the one that saw Diego Costa go on strike, though the concern is this could impact Willian’s fitness.
New manager Maurizio Sarri is known to want to use the winger in Chelsea’s first Premier League fixture away against Huddersfield Town.
Willian will now have to get up to speed and familiarise himself with Sarri’s tactics as quickly as possible to be fit for that trip on August 11.
The two-time Premier League winner is expected at Cobham on Wednesday after the problem with his passport, which had expired, was resolved.
Willian will not be in Dublin for Wednesday’s International Champions Cup match against Arsenal at the Aviva Stadium. He will report for standard pre-season tests in London instead.
Sarri is continuing his preparations for his first Premier League campaign and plans to meet Willian for the first time in London on Thursday.
Chelsea face Manchester City in the Community Shield this Sunday, though some World Cup players will not be back in time.
That includes Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois, who could miss the start of the Premier League season.
Barcelona were interested in Willian but baulked at Chelsea’s £70m valuation. They signed Bordeaux’s Malcom for £36.5m instead last week.
Talks with Real are ongoing. Sportsmail revealed two days ago that the La Liga giants had offered £100m for Willian and goalkeeper Courtois.
It remains to be seen whether Jose Mourinho’s United will follow up on their initial interest.