Arsenal

Willian explains why he left Arsenal and reveals details of honest Mikel Arteta conversation

The winger is back in England with Fulham just 12 months after leaving Arsenal two years before his contract expired

Willian’s short spell at Arsenal didn’t go as planned. The winger signed a three-year deal at the Emirates Stadium following a hugely successful period with Chelsea, but his deal was cut short 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 just 12 months after signing for the club, bringing an end to a forgettable spell which failed to live up to his trophy-packed Chelsea career.

The 34-year-old joined Corinthians after cancelling his 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 missed Fulham’s game at the Emirates last month, which Arsenal won 2-1.

Willian says most players in his situation would have seen out their contract at the Gunners, but has revealed that he didn’t ‘feel good’ at Arsenal.

“I think I’m maybe the only player who has done something like this [cancelled contract early],” Willian told 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.”

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