Arsenal have secured the services of Willian, who joins the club on a free transfer from Chelsea, the Gunners have announced.
After weeks of speculations, Arsenal have finally officiated the arrival of Willian. The Brazilian winger joins from Chelsea on a free transfer, becoming the third summer signing for the Gunners, after Cedric Soares and Pablo Mari. He has signed a three-year contract with the north London giants, meaning it will expire in 2023.
🆕 New club. New colours. New beginnings.
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) August 14, 2020
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has expressed his delight over the acquisition of Willian. As part of the official statement, he said of the former Chelsea winger, “I believe he’s a player that can really make a difference for us.”
“We have been monitoring him for the past few months, we had a clear intention to strengthen in the attacking midfielder and the winger positions [and] he is a player that gives us a lot of versatility, he can play in three or four different positions.”
Arsenal’s technical director, Edu, who played a key role in facilitating the transfer, has also said Willian has a “lot of fantastic attributes as a person and as a football player”. He believes that Arteta will enjoy having Willian in his side next season.
The announcement comes only a couple of days after Willian announced his exit from Chelsea. He saw out his contract at Stamford Bridge after the two parties failed to reach an agreement over the period of a new deal, and was subsequently linked with Arsenal.
The decision to join direct rivals Arsenal does not come as a surprise either as the Brazilian has appeared quite outspoken regarding his ambition of continuing his footballing career in London, whether it be for Chelsea or some other team. And Willian has followed in the footsteps of his compatriot David Luiz by moving to the Emirates.
From a sporting perspective, the addition of Willian makes sense for the Gunners. The 32-year-old has loads of experience at the highest level of football and has also been a consistent performer in the Premier League over the past six seasons. His presence in the team, therefore, could be useful in an otherwise inexperienced and young Arsenal team.
As for Chelsea, it also seems like a good decision as the Blues brace themselves for a transitional period under Frank Lampard. They have already secured the services of players like Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner while another ageing star, Pedro has also confirmed his departure from Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea’s future, it seems, is going to revolve around young players like Christian Pulisic, Werner, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Mason Mount among many others while Arsenal will hope that the arrival of Willian can fill the void in the creative department, while providing definitive competition to Nicolas Pepe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and others.