The Brazilian international sparked excitement among the Arsenal faithful after his debut on the opening day saw him notch a hat-trick of assists against Fulham, but those three assists ended up making up half of his entire league goal contributions.
There is already speculation linking Willian with a move away from the Gunners after just one season in North London, but a claim he made on the day he joined has come back to leave him looking foolish.
Upon signing for the Gunners, Willian said: “One of the reasons I wanted a three-year deal was to be part of a plan. When I talked with the manager he told me why he needed me for three years. He first wanted to qualify for the Champions League and win it by the time I left. That’s what I wanted to hear.”
That quote looks bad enough now that Arsenal have finished eighth for the second successive season, without European football for the first time in 25 years, but Chelsea have really added insult to injury.
Willian’s former side have secured their second Champions League title before the Gunners have even notched one, after Thomas Tuchel guided the Blues to a 1-0 victory over Manchester City in Saturday night’s final.
The winger has been left with further egg on his face after he was offered the chance to continue his seven year stint at Stamford Bridge, only to turn down Chelsea’s offer of a two-year contract extension as he was adamant he warranted a three-year deal.
Frank Lampard, Chelsea manager at the time of Willian’s departure, was keen on keeping the attacker around, but ultimately did not stand in his way once Mikel Arteta and co. came in to offer the Brazilian a contract that would see the next three years of his future secured.
Willian is the client of notorious super agent Kia Joorabchian, who boasted a number of cliental at Arsenal over the course of the 2020/21 season, including David Luiz and Cedric Soares, though the former has since departed.
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While the attacker’s future was up in the air as his final days at Chelsea came to a close, Joorabchian claimed the star had a number of offers from all over the globe, including two from the Premier League and one unnamed MLS outfit.
Ultimately, Willian opted to remain settled in London, swapping West for North in a deal that Arsenal may live to regret if they can’t shift the winger in the summer, which may prove difficult given his high wages and love of life in the capital.