Arsenal winger Willian spent 45 minutes speaking to Brazilian journalist Mauro Cezar Pereira this week, and had a lot to share about his years in the Premier League.
After seven seasons at Chelsea, the 32-year-old left the Stamford Bridge side at the end of his contract last summer, joining London rivals Arsenal in a free move.
Quizzed if he’d had any backlash from Blues’ fans for switching sides like this, Willian claims there’s been no hard feelings, especially because everyone knew he’d ‘like to stay’ in West London.
“It was difficult to make that decision, it wasn’t easy. Because, as you said, the rivalry between the two clubs is very big. It wasn’t an easy decision to leave Chelsea for Arsenal. It was well thought out, a thoughtful decision, talking to my wife and even the agent many times,” Willian told UOL.
“And one of the things that made me decide to go to Arsenal was really the various conversations I had with Mikel Arteta, with Edu too. They convinced me to go there that it’d be a really cool project, that it’d be really good for me to be able to go there. That I’d be a very important player in the squad. That they wanted to change the philosophy of the club, to make it possible for Arsenal to fight again in the Premier League, to play in the Champions League again.
“So there were several conversations I had, several conversations that ended up pleasing me, so that’s why I ended up making this decision. But it really wasn’t easy to make that decision, it had to be well thought out.
“Look, I think some fans asked this question. But the majority understood because I didn’t leave the club with a fight, I left the doors open. Everyone knew the conditions, I really wanted to stay. We ended up not finding an agreement, I ended up asking for three years, Chelsea wanted to give two, and everyone knows this story. That’s why I ended up leaving.”
Speaking about his future, Willian was asked if he has any plans to return to playing in Brazil again. The Arsenal winger ruled out this possibility for now, and pointed out another country he may end up moving to.
“Look, I always say that sometimes we make plans but sometimes the plans change. Today, in my head, I don’t have this objective. I have neither the desire nor the objective to play in Brazil.
“I intend to stay in Europe, anyway. Leaving Europe, going to another market. United States, I don’t know, another market. But we make plans, sometimes things can change. So today I reply to you that I don’t have this thought of playing in Brazil again.”
Since joining Arsenal in the summer, Willian has four assists in 26 appearances, and hasn’t managed to score a goal for the Gunners so far.