The Brazilian joined us on a free transfer from Chelsea, and unfortunately for him, he’s very high on the list of our worst signings in the Emirates era. He just couldn’t get going at Arsenal, and after just a year, his contract was terminated and he left the club.
Willian has now had his say.
Willian says people called him ‘crazy’ for tearing up Arsenal contract
Speaking to The Athletic, Willian said: “I think I’m maybe the only player who has done something like this (terminate his contract). 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. For most of the season, we were playing without fans (because of COVID-19).
“I didn’t see Arsenal fans. Maybe I needed to feel the buzz of the crowd, that it was something I missed. It was a difficult moment not just for me, but for everyone in the world. To play without fans at a new club is not easy.
“A lot of people said to me, ‘Are you crazy?! You have to stay, you can’t lose this money’. There were a lot who told me this, even people from Brazil. They’d say, ‘Don’t come, don’t come, you have to stay! You’re crazy!’.
“But it was something I wanted to try, to play for Corinthians, the club I grew up playing for. So that’s why I left. I was comfortable with my choice.”
The Insider’s View:
Signing Willian on a free transfer, apart from the salary Arsenal agreed to pay him, made sense because of the Brazilian’s experience in the Premier League.
However, things just didn’t work out for him.
Willian looked nothing like the player he once was at Chelsea. He was really, really bad for Arsenal, and his departure was the best thing for all parties involved.
Irrespective of your feelings towards Willian, you’ve got to applaud the fact that he walked away, giving up a big chunk of money that he was owed. Not many do that, and he deserves a lot of credit.