Willian has stated that Arsenal didn’t want him to leave this summer, but he ‘wasn’t happy’ at the Emirates stadium and chose to cancel his lucrative contract in search of ‘joy, happiness and peace.’
The 33-year-old signed a bumper three-year contract with the Gunners back in the summer of 2020, but the move from Chelsea quickly turned into a nightmare.
The Brazilian star lost his place in Mikel Arteta’s plans and became a lightning rod for criticism from supporters due to his hefty salary.
Despite having two years remaining on his contract, Willian opted to terminate his deal and seal a return to Brazil, where he joined Corinthians. And the winger has insisted that it was his decision alone to leave north London, with the Gunners keen to keep hold of him for the upcoming season.
“My year at Arsenal was a bit complicated. I really couldn’t adapt to the club. I wasn’t happy there,” Willian said.
“To make it very clear too, it wasn’t the club that wanted me to leave. I wanted to leave the club. I expressed my feeling, said I wasn’t happy.
“I said I wanted to look elsewhere, another place to play. And so there was this decision to leave. There are things in life that money can’t buy, money doesn’t pay for. You have joy, happiness, peace, a solid family. I think this is the most important thing for me.”
Willian starred in the Premier League for eight years, spending seven of those in west London during his successful spell with Chelsea. He won the Premier League twice with the Blues, but left on a free transfer to Arsenal in 2020 having been sold a project to return the Gunners back to the top of English football.
That plan never came to fruition, however, and the Brazil star struggled for form in a disjointed Arsenal team. He subsequently left the club in the summer, tearing up his contract to save the north Londoners around £20m, while accepting a 70% pay cut to play for Corinthians.