Ex-Arsenal man Willian has opened up on his struggles during his time at the Emirates and explains why he decided to leave two years before his contract expired.
THE LOWDOWN: FAILED MOVE
It is safe to say Willian had a time to forget at Arsenal. The winger signed a three-year deal at the Emirates Stadium following a successful stint with Chelsea, but his deal was terminated after just one year.
The Brazil international failed to make an impact in north London, scoring just once in 37 appearances during the 2020/21 campaign. Willian left Arsenal barely 12 months after joining the club, bringing an end to a forgettable spell which paled in contrast with his trophy-packed Chelsea career.
The 34-year-old then joined native side Corinthians after cancelling his Gunners’ contract, but he is now back in the Premier League – and back in London – with Fulham. He signed for the Cottagers on deadline day, meaning he was unavailable for Fulham’s game at the Emirates last month, which Arsenal won 2-1.
Willian says most players in his situation would have seen out the entire length of their contracts, but has revealed that he didn’t ‘feel good’ at Arsenal.
THE LATEST: WASN’T THERE FOR MONEY
“I think I’m maybe the only player who has done something like this [cancelled contract early],” Willian said in an interview with The Athletic.
“Any other player in my situation would have stayed until the end of the contract and kept picking up the money.
“But I’m not like this. Money is not the most important thing in the world. I have to feel good, to feel motivated to go to training. I wasn’t having that there so I decided to leave.
“On my last day there, I spoke with the manager Mikel Arteta. I thanked him a lot for what he had done for me, for bringing me to Arsenal. I just wished him all the best. He is a good manager and I have great respect for Arsenal. They are doing well, they have good players. They can achieve good things this season.”
THE VERDICT: RESPECTABLE DECISION
In the end, Willian made the right call and was fair to call it quits after realizing he was not at the level needed at Arsenal. He is now back at Fulham and will be looking to make a point of an unfinished business in the Premier League and particularly in London.