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'That’s why I didn’t perform': Willian lifts lid on Arsenal struggles

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Speaking to Rio Ferdinand on his Vibe with Five podcast, Willian has opened up on his struggles during his time at Arsenal.

Mikel Arteta and Edu went above and beyond to sign the Brazilian when his contract ran out at Chelsea. Arsenal fans weren’t too sure about the deal at that point, but many of us felt his experience could help out our youngsters.

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However, Willian’s time at the Emirates was a disaster. He was a star at Chelsea when he was there, but almost everything he did in an Arsenal shirt failed. He has now opened up about his struggles.

Willian: I was not happy at Arsenal

The Brazilian said: “I wasn’t happy. That’s why I didn’t perform. I don’t want to go into the details. When I arrived there I was happy, from the beginning I was motivated, I wanted to do well – new club, new mates, new project.

“But after three months, I said to my agent: ‘Please, I want to go’. I don’t want to speak bad about the club, because it is a big club. Arsenal has a big history. In football, big players played there before as well. But it didn’t work, it didn’t work. It was, of course, the most difficult time of my career.

“It was big money that I gave up. But sometimes money is not the most important thing in life. I think you need to be happy, get pleasure every day waking up in the morning to go to train. I wasn’t having that.

“So I said to myself, with my family, I cannot stay here, I am not happy here, I have to leave, find a way out, leave the club. Because if I stay, I am going to stay the same. For me, it’s unfair to stay in a place that you don’t want to stay just because of the money. For me, it was that.”

(Photo by Peter Powell –

The Insider’s View:

Arsenal have got a number of transfers wrong over the years, but no signing was arguably more disappointing than Willian’s.

It really is strange why the Brazilian struggled as much as he did. It’s never easy to change clubs and hit the ground running, but it’s bizarre why a player of his quality and experience just couldn’t deliver.

Willian was subjected to a ton of criticism during his year at Arsenal – some of which was slightly unfair. His gesture to tear up his contract and forego a lot of money won him the respect of most fans, and although things were as bad as they were, we can only wish him well.

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