Willian is still struggling to make an impact in Brazil after leaving Arsenal in August and has yet to score or even complete a full match.
Willian’s time at Arsenal was an unmitigated disaster and the player was as relieved as the fans to be leaving the club after just one season.
It’s not clear what happened between leaving Chelsea and joining Arsenal that impacted the Brazilian so much, but something did.
Willian arrived at Arsenal after turning down a two-year deal to stay at Chelsea. He wanted three years and Arsenal duly offered them to him.
Willian played in the Premier League for seven years with Chelsea, arriving in 2013 for £31.95m from Anzhi even though Tottenham thought they’d signed him.
They were, you might remember, absolutely outraged at the whole thing which was hilarious.
Before moving to Arsenal, Willian made 339 appearances for Chelsea, scoring 63 and assisting 62.
Jose Mourinho bought him during his first spell at the club and, after that, the winger played under another four managers (Guus Hiddink, Antonio Conte, Maurizio Sarri, Frank Lampard), none of whom wanted to sell him and all of whom used him regularly.
Willian arrived at Arsenal knowing what it takes to play in a winning side and had shown he was a player multiple managers were willing to make a first team starter.
There were many revamps at Chelsea after he arrived, yet he remained.
He had also never played fewer than 40 games a season in England, so his injury record was superb, as well.
Willian’s form after football returned during the first stages of the pandemic also indicated Arsenal were getting a player still in fine form. He scored four goals after the restart, grabbed three assists, and was a key player in helping Chelsea secure a top four spot.
Then he signed for Arsenal and it all fell apart.
Despite being happy to escape from the club, Willian has struggled to find anything like the form he enjoyed at Chelsea.
He has two goals and four assists in total for Corinthians in 29 games but none of those goals, and half only two assists, have come since he returned in August. The rest are from before he left to sign for Shakhtar Donetsk in 2007.
In total, Willian has played just 12 games (596 minutes) since his return and has not played the full 90 minutes once.
Willian wanted to leave Arsenal after 3 months
“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.
“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.
“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.”