Arsenal have completed the signing of Willian from Chelsea on a free transfer, handing the Brazilian a three-year deal worth around £100,000 a week, and the move has left the Arsenal as well as the Chelsea faithful in a split.
Willian, who joined Chelsea in 2013 from Anzhi Makhachkala in bizarre circumstances, has become manager Mikel Arteta's first summer signing. The 32-year-old's preference was to stay at Stamford Bridge, but his contract situation was proving to be a hindrance as he demanded a three-year deal, while the Blues were only willing to offer him a two-year contract.
The Gunners met the winger's demands, and the player took to social media on Sunday to pen down a heart-warming message to the fans, saying,
“They were seven wonderful years. In August 2013 when I received the offer from Chelsea, I was convinced that this was where I had to play. Today I am certain that it was the best of decisions. There were so many happy times, some sad, there were trophies and it was always very intense."
🤯 Willian has played 21 times against Arsenal in his career, more than any other opponent, and never scored in that time pic.twitter.com/RHFm4klfuL— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) August 14, 2020
During his seven years with Chelsea, the 32-year-old won two Premier Leagues, an FA Cup, a League Cup and the UEFA Europa League.
“I believe he’s a player that can really make a difference for us," said Mikel Arteta.
"He has the experience of everything in the football world but to still have the ambition to come here and contribute to bring the club where it belongs. I have been really impressed with all the talks I have had with him and how much he wanted to come."
Speaking about his move, Willian said that Arteta was one of the reasons why he decided to join the Gunners.
"I think that with Arteta, Arsenal have a great opportunity to fight again for titles in the Premier League and in Europe so I'm very happy because of that," said Willian.
16 - With nine goals and seven assists, 2019-20 was Willian's most productive Premier League campaign in terms of goal involvements. Gunner. pic.twitter.com/BThamrXb8V— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 14, 2020
"When I talked to Mikel, the conversation was good, he gave me confidence to come to Arsenal. He said a lot of good things to me and that's why I have come to Arsenal."
Meanwhile, there a healthy debate on the internet as Arsenal fans believe the club has acquired an experienced Premier League campaigner, while the Chelsea fans seem quite happy given that the player isn't getting any younger.
Sure the Willian contract length is a little suspect considering age, but what a fantastic signing for us. PL ready and has tons of experience.— Adam (@AdamArsenal) August 14, 2020
Happy with Willian coming in for next season. Improves us. However, I hope there’s a plan in two years time as I don’t think he’ll be at the same level at 34/35.— Matt Kett (@matthewKett) August 14, 2020
Best wishes to Willian, hope he spends his time in comfort at his retirement home.— MH (@bluefrankly) August 14, 2020
Willian leaving Chelsea and signing for Arsenal has reduced my Stress level by 34%.— 𝕀 ℝ 𝕀 𝔾 𝕆 (@__irigo) August 14, 2020
Mr Hustle and Alonso left. 🤲🏾
Tottenham paid for the flight of Willian to England only for him to sign for Chelsea and Arsenal lool😭— 49🎗️ (@WengerKaakh) August 14, 2020
Regardless of what you think of the deal, he’s here now & we must support him as if he was anyone else. Welcome to Arsenal, Willian! pic.twitter.com/M7KTfhTqNL— Patrick Timmons (@PatrickTimmons1) August 14, 2020
Chelsea fans are bitter this morning cos Willian has finally got the chance to play for a big club for the first time in his career 😂— Kelewele Joint 🍟 (@Ankamagyimi) August 14, 2020
Borges Olive Oil will be doing wonder at the Emirates!
Arsenal players move to Chelsea to win trophies(Giroud, Ashley Cole, Fabregas)— Unwanted Friend😒🌚 (@holardamolar) August 14, 2020
Chelsea players move to Arsenal to retire(Cech, David Luiz, Willian)
The levels are staggering😌..Once again, Welcome to Arsenal Willian 👏🏿 pic.twitter.com/prLpvuIOK4
Cech,David Luiz and Willian really used Chelsea as a stepping stone to go Arsenal and win trophies.— Trey (@UTDTrey) August 14, 2020
Willian to Arsenal a Weird one. We’ve almost certainly had his best years at Chelsea. He must love London, at least the Arsenal fans can have our song. #HeHatesTottenham 👌— Craig ⏱ (@LookAtSpud) August 14, 2020