Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho says he was never interested in signing Willian in the summer due to his reported £250,000-a-week wages.
After seven years at Chelsea and aged 32, Willian was looking for his last big contract and made clear to interested parties that he wanted a three-year contract.
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard was keen to keep hold of the experienced Brazilian but the board at Stamford Bridge baulked at the demands made by the winger.
And that allowed Arsenal step in and seal a deal for Willian, who was a free agent but joined on a bumper signing on fee and £250,000-a-week salary.
Four months into his time at the Emirates, questions are being raised about the wisdom of such a deal with Willian struggling for form and confidence.
Willian does appear to still have the backing of Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta and with Nicolas Pepe suspended for Sunday's north London derby with Tottenham, he could start the match on the right side of the attack.
It will be a reunion of sorts with Mourinho, who brought Willian to English football in 2013 after beating Tottenham to his signature.
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But speaking ahead of the match, Mourinho revealed Spurs didn't have the money to enter a bidding war with Arsenal for Willian.
“We don’t have money for Willian,” he said.
"We cannot pay the wages that he gets at Arsenal so I didn’t want to waste our time because we cannot pay these wages.
“He is still dangerous, he is still one of the best players in the Premier League. Apart from that, he is a good friend. I have nothing to hide in relation to that.
“We keep in touch, we keep in contact, we call each other. We wish good things to each other. He is my friend and of course he is a very good player.”
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