Willian reveals he eyed an Arsenal exit after just THREE MONTHS in north London as Gunners flop admits online abuse from fans influenced early departure
- Willian signed a three year deal at Arsenal in 2020 but only stayed for one
- The former Chelsea man made just 16 appearances and never showed his best
- Arsenal supporters were hostile from the start and targeted him online
- Willian admitted that he realised he made a mistake after only three months
Arsenal fans’ hostile welcome after Willian’s move from Chelsea helped convince the Brazilian to leave, admitting he was eyeing the exit door just three months after his switch to north London.
The winger wound down his Chelsea contract after the Blues’ refusal to offer him a three-year deal and joined Mikel Arteta’s side in the summer of 2020, wanting to stay in London.
But his move backfired badly and the £240,000-a-week flop only made 16 Premier League starts before his contract was terminated in the summer to allow a transfer back to Corinthians in Brazil.
Willian has opened up on how the reception he received from Arsenal fans influenced his exit
The winger played a bit-part role for the Gunners and only stayed for one year of his deal
Much of Gooners’ frustration was directed at Willian last season en-route to an eighth-place finish in the top-flight, and he admitted the hate mail on social media weighed on his mind.
‘Yes it did (help me make my decision),’ the 33-year-old told Rio Ferdinand’s Five show.
‘I received a lot of messages on social media from them, but also because I came from Chelsea I think if I came from another club maybe the fans would be better.
‘But because I come from Chelsea and I didn’t perform well and because of them, I think about that and I have to go.’
Arsenal fans were already scathing of Willian when he arrived after starring for rivals Chelsea
The supporters never took to Willian and the winger was never able to produce his best form
Willian scored just a single league goal last season, but has only played nine matches since returning to Corinthians.
Only as far back as 2019-20, the speedy winger was playing a crucial role for Chelsea, scoring 11 goals and assisting nine for the Blues after seven years in west London.
‘I was not happy, that’s why I didn’t perform. I don’t want to go into the details, but I wasn’t happy,’ Willian said of his Gunners move.
‘So, when I arrived there I was happy, from the beginning I was motivated, I wanted to do well, new club, new mates, new projects.
Willian was sold on Mikel Arteta’s vision but the Spaniard has still yet to deliver on that
‘After three months, I told my agent “please, I want to go”. I don’t want to speak bad about the club because it is a big club, has a big history in football, big players played there before it’s a big club – but 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.
‘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.’