‘My heartfelt thanks’ – Willian confirms Chelsea departure as Arsenal switch inches closer

Willian

Willian has this afternoon taken to social media, to post a heartfelt message, confirming his free agent departure from long-time club Chelsea.

Expiring Chelsea deal

Brazilian attacker Willian’s future has remained up in the air for some time now.

This comes with the 32-year-old, plying his trade at Stamford Bridge since 2013, having long been inching towards the expiration of his Chelsea contract.

The Blues are thought to have made repeated efforts to tie Willian down to fresh terms, but, throughout negotiations, the former Shakhtar Donetsk man stood firm in demanding a contract through to 2023.

‘God bless you!’

As such, though an agreement over a short-term extension for the remainder of the COVID-19-hit campaign was found, a subsequent divorce had long looked on the cards.

And, as outlined above, confirmation of exactly that has this afternoon arrived.

Taking to his official Twitter account a short time ago, Willian posted a heartfelt message to Chelsea’s fans, thanking the Blues faithful for their support, whilst simultaneously announcing his decision to move on:

‘AN OPEN LETTER TO THE FANS OF CHELSEA FOOTBALL CLUB.’

‘They were seven wonderful years. In August 2013 when I received the offer from Chelsea, I was convinced that this was where I had to play. Today I am certain that it was the best of decisions. There were so many happy times, some sad, there were trophies and it was always very intense.’

‘Yet, beyond the trophies, I learnt a lot about myself. I developed a great deal, becoming a better player and a better person. With each training session, with each game, with every minute spent in the dressing room, I was always learning.’

LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 28: Willian of Chelsea celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Brighton & Hove Albion at Stamford Bridge on September 28, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

‘I am really grateful to the Chelsea fans for the affectionate way they welcomed me at Stamford Bridge and their support throughout my time at the club. There was also criticism, which is normal, what is important though is that both the affection and criticism drove me to always give my all in every training session, every game, to be constantly improving until my very last minute in a Chelsea shirt!’

‘The time has now come to move on. I am certainly going to miss my teammates. I will miss all the staff at the club who’ve always treated me like a son and I will miss the fans. I leave with my head held high, safe in the knowledge that I won things here and always did my best in a Chelsea shirt!

‘My heartfelt thanks go out to all of you and God bless you!’

Arsenal bound

A host of clubs have of course been touted as potential destinations for Willian ahead of next season, with the experienced Brazilian international’s free agent addition, amid a period of such financial uncertainty, an enticing proposition for clubs across Europe.

The likes of Tottenham, Bayern Munich and Barcelona are thought to have expressed an interest at one point or another, though it is another outfit who have long appeared the front-runners to actually land Willian.

The club in question? Arsenal.

Mikel Arteta’s Gunners are reported to have tabled a 3-year contract offer to the attacker, with an official announcement regarding Willian’s Emirates switch now looking imminent.

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This article was edited by Conor Laird.

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