Willian claims to have “never said that I want to leave Chelsea”, with the Brazilian having been heavily linked with Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona.The 30-year-old forward established himself as a key figure at Stamford Bridge during the 2017-18 campaign, with regular game time allowing him to find consistency in his game.A personal best return of 13 goals was recorded as a result, along with eight assists across Premier League and Champions League competition. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! That fine form sparked talk of a possible reunion with former Blues boss Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford, while La Liga heavyweights Real and Barca were also said to be keen as they scoured the market for attacking reinforcements.No deal was done and Willian, who has now spent five years on the books at Chelsea, is delighted to have stayed put.He told the club’s official website: “A lot of people they say a lot of things in the press, but I never said that I want to leave Chelsea, never.“Always I say that I want to stay at Chelsea as long as possible, and I am happy to stay here.”Willian, who was snapped up for £30 million ($39m) from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013, is fast closing in on 250 appearances for Chelsea.He hopes there will be many more to come, with his current deal set to keep him in west London until at least 2020.“When I arrived here my plan was to stay here as long as possible and now I am here five years I hope to stay five more!” Willian added.“I know I have two years of contract left but I hope to stay more years in the Premier League.“I am very happy to be here five years. I have won titles and played a lot of games with a lot of happy moments, and a few sad moments as well but that is part of football, but these five years have been very good for me and I am proud to be a Chelsea player.”Willian has helped Maurizio Sarri’s side to make a faultless start to their 2018-19 campaign, with four successive victories secured heading into the first international break.The Blues will return to action on Saturday with a home date against Cardiff.
OTTAWA – Rural communities and a federal MP are raising concerns about the impact a potential work stoppage at Canada Post could have on Ontario’s municipal elections.The Crown corporation and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers extended their contract negotiations beyond an early-Wednesday deadline for a strike or lockout, providing some hope that new deals can be struck without a service disruption.But in the absence of agreements, small communities that rely on mail-in ballots for the Oct. 22 vote said they were looking for alternative ways for constituents to exercise their civic duty.The Municipality of Dysart et al, in Ontario’s cottage country north of Toronto, said it could be heavily impacted by a postal strike.“Election staff are working on a contingency plan in the event of a postal strike,” the regional community said in a tweet.Just to the west, Brock Township has informed voters not to mail their ballots until there’s confirmation a strike or lockout will be avoided.“We are encouraging people to just hold onto their (election) kit until there’s some direction, one way or the other, from Canada Post,” Tom Gettinby, the township’s clerk and chief administrative officer, told The Canadian Press.There were about 10,000 eligible voters in Brock at the time of the last municipal election in 2014. Of those, roughly 4,400 cast ballots, Gettinby said.And while the township is encouraging local voters to drop off their completed ballots to municipal offices in the event of job action at Canada Post, many eligible electors are part-time residents who live and work in Toronto for much of the year.“What we don’t want to see happen is they put the ballot in the mail and then all of a sudden there’s a disruption in the postal service, and their ballot is in some warehouse in Toronto,” said Gettinby.Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant, who represents the rural Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke riding northwest of Ottawa, said she has heard from several isolated municipalities worried about how a Canada Post shutdown will affect their mail-in votes.“A Canada Post strike during the Ontario municipal elections will result in Canadians being deprived of their say in the election,” Gallant wrote on her website.“Online voting was not an option due to absence of internet coverage in these rural areas.”A postal disruption would impact each community differently, depending on how much they rely on mail services, said the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.“Municipalities use mail services for election-related materials to different degrees, so the impact of a postal disruption would vary across Ontario,” AMO president Jamie McGarvey said in an email.“Municipal clerks understand the importance of ensuring smooth elections. They work hard to plan for municipal elections and anticipate solutions when needed.”The Canadian Union of Postal Workers, or CUPW, said Monday it would not issue a 72-hour notice of job action but warned there could be job action if there was no progress in the talks. Key issues revolve around wages and working conditions.A CUPW spokesman said the union was waiting for comprehensive counter proposals to the wide-ranging offers it presented to Canada Post on Sept. 14. In the meantime, negotiators were still meeting at an undisclosed hotel in Ottawa, said Kevin Matthews.A collective agreement affecting the agency’s 42,000 urban postal workers expired in January. Rural and suburban carriers saw their agreement lapse in December 2017. CUPW is hoping to merge the two contracts in the current round of bargaining.There was a risk of a work disruption at Canada Post in 2016, but it was avoided when both sides agreed to carve out a contentious pay-equity dispute and put it in the hands of an arbitrator, who issued a ruling on the issue last week.The last time the agency locked out its unionized employees was in 2011. The federal government, however, quickly put an end to the lockout through legislation that a court later ruled was illegal.