One of Mikel Arteta’s first signings as Arsenal boss wishes he’d never joined the Gunners.
Winger Willian had a successful seven years with Chelsea having snubbed Tottenham for the west London club. The Brazilian won the Premier League and FA Cup during his time at Stamford Bridge, but decided it was time to move on in the summer of 2020.
Arsenal had just finished a lowly eighth with Arteta having taken charge midway through the campaign. The Spaniard felt a player of Willian’s experience and quality was just what the Gunners needed at the start of a new era at the Emirates, but his move proved to be nothing short of a disaster.
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In hindsight, the 35-year-old wishes he had never left Chelsea for one of their biggest local rivals.
“Yeah, I wish I’d never left,” he admitted to Sky Sports. “Of course, it’s easy to say something now, but when I stop to think about the whole situation then yeah, I say to myself I wish I’d never left.”
He went back to Brazil to play for Corinthians before returning to west London with Fulham, where he is enjoying an excellent season. He added: “I’m happy now at Fulham. I'm enjoying myself there, so this is life.
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“They [Arsenal] are flying now. I don’t know, I think I came while it was changing a lot. I was excited when I signed with them, I was training hard but it just didn’t work.”
Meanwhile, Willian told Rio Ferdinand's YouTube channel that he told his agent he wanted to leave the Gunners after just three months, revealing: “I wasn’t happy. That’s why I didn’t perform. I don’t want to go into the details.
“When I arrived there I was happy, from the beginning I was motivated, I wanted to do well – new club, new mates, new project. But after three months, I said to my agent, ‘Please, I want to go’. I don’t want to speak bad about the club, because it is a big club. Arsenal has a big history.
“In football, big players played there before as well. But it didn’t work, it didn’t work. It was, of course, the most difficult time of my career.”
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