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Under-fire Arsenal star Willian admits he never intended to leave Chelsea: ‘I really wanted to stay’

Under-fire Arsenal star Willian admits he never intended to leave Chelsea: ‘I really wanted to stay’

 

Arsenal star Willian has, on Friday, opened up on swapping Chelsea for London rivals Arsenal last summer.

Emirates switch

The future of Brazilian wide-man Willian of course took centre stage in the media for a lengthy stretch late last season.

This came with the veteran having entered the final months of his contract at Stamford Bridge, amid a productive campaign which saw him directly contribute to 16 Premier League goals.

In the end, despite ex-Blues boss Frank Lampard having made clear his desire for Willian to stay put, though, the former Shakhtar Donetsk man opted to see out the terms of his deal, bringing to an end his 7-year Chelsea stint.

And it did not take at all long for Willian to find a new club, with the attacker having gone on to put pen to paper on a 3-year deal with city rivals Arsenal in August:

‘Everyone knew the conditions’

To say that Willian’s stint at the Emirates has since proven underwhelming, however, would be putting it lightly.

The 32-year-old, across 26 appearances to date, has failed to find the net in Arsenal’s colours, whilst contributing just 4 assists.

Such poor form has seen the South American lose his place in Mikel Arteta’s starting XI over recent months, with the likes of Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe all currently ahead of Willian in the Gunners’ attacking pecking order.

Not only that, but the Corinthians youth product has also drawn the ire of his new club’s supporters, with the Arsenal faithful having made clear their frustrations with Willian’s performances on a number of occasions of late.

Under-fire Arsenal star Willian admits he never intended to leave Chelsea: ‘I really wanted to stay’

Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (right) celebrates scoring his side’s third goal of the game with da Silva Willian during the Premier League match at Craven Cottage, London. (Photo by Ben Stanstall/PA Images via Getty Images)

The struggling winger’s latest comments, though, are unlikely to go any way towards bringing an end to such criticisms. In fact, they are more likely to do the exact opposite.

Speaking in an interview with UOL Esporte in his home country of Brazil earlier today, Willian was drawn on his summer switch from west to north London.

And, after admitting that the decision, due to the rivalry between the clubs, proved a ‘difficult’ one to make, the 32-year-old went on to confirm that he in fact never wanted to leave Stamford Bridge:

It was difficult to make that decision, because… the rivalry between the two clubs is very big. It was well thought out… talking to my wife and even the agent many times.’

‘I didn’t leave the club with a fight, I left the doors open. Everyone knew the conditions, I really wanted to stay.’

‘We ended up not finding an agreement, I ended up asking for three years, Chelsea wanted to give two, and everyone knows this story. That’s why I ended up leaving.’

On the influence of Mikel Arteta on his eventual call to join Arsenal, meanwhile, Willian added:

‘One of the things that made me decide to go to Arsenal was really the various conversations I had with Mikel Arteta, with Edu too. They convinced me that I’d be a very important player in the squad. ‘

‘They wanted to change the philosophy of the club, to make it possible for Arsenal to fight again in the Premier League, to play in the Champions League again.’

 

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This article was edited by Josh Barker.

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Player Team Goals
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Bamford, Patrick Leeds United 14
Calvert-Lewin, Dominic Everton FC 14
Lacazette, Alexandre Arsenal FC 13
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City FC 12
Watkins, Ollie Aston Villa FC 12
Gundogan, Ilkay Manchester City FC 12
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Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City FC 9
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