Willian has apologised to Arsenal fans for his poor season at the club after it was announced that his contract at Arsenal had been terminated by mutual consent.
“All my career I have done everything to be the best I can be – I always want to win and I find it hard to accept not doing so,” the 33-year-old wrote on Instagram.
“Unfortunately it didn’t happen for me at Arsenal and I am sorry about that.
“Unfortunately things on the pitch didn’t go the way we had all planned and hoped – I received a lot of criticism, especially from some members of the press, [suggesting] that I had come here for financial reasons.
“I hope with my actions today [I] explain [that] to those people and they now understand that was not the case.
“I hope it teaches some people that they should not be so quick to pass judgement and create bad environments to make themselves important, even though I accept that’s part of the game.”
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After never playing fewer than 40 games a season when at Chelsea, Willian leaves Arsenal having played 37. He scored one (against West Brom in September), and assisted six. He also managed to fly to Dubai ‘on business’ without permission nor getting in trouble. As his final hurrah! Willian liked an Instagram post from Chelsea after they beat Arsenal in matchday 2.
Willian arrived at Arsenal knowing what it takes to play in a winning side (he’s won more trophies than any other player at Arsenal by a distance) and had shown he was a player multiple managers were willing to make a first team starter. Mikel Arteta was no different.
The Arsenal manager started Willian in 12 of the first 14 league games, benching him for one while a calf niggle ruled him out for the other. Conveniently, Willian was ‘ill’ for the Christmas games when Arsenal finally turned things around somewhat with that win over Chelsea on Boxing Day, followed by a win over Brighton.
Willian started only four more league matches after that and didn’t even make the matchday squad for the final three league games of the season.
There are many questions that can and will be asked around this move, should it have went ahead, given the agent involved, but Willian failed to bring to Arsenal a lot of what we desperately needed – proven winners at the top level that wouldn’t break the bank in terms of a fee.
In the end, Willian cost Arsenal regardless.