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Arsenal flop who was one of Mikel Arteta's first signings admits he massively regrets joining club

Joe Adams

| Last updated 

Arsenal flop who was one of Mikel Arteta's first signings admits he massively regrets joining club

One of Mikel Arteta's first ever signings as Arsenal boss admitted he regrets signing for the north London club.

When a club like the Gunners come knocking, it can be difficult to say no. However, former Chelsea winger Willian wishes that's exactly what he'd done back in 2020.

Cast your minds back to a darker time in Arsenal's recent history, when Mikel Arteta had just taken charge of the club after an eighth placed finish in the Premier League.

The Spaniard decided to do business with cross-city rivals Chelsea and sign Willian to help bolster his attacking line. However, the winger's move to the Emirates turned out to be nothing short of a disaster.



The Brazilian registered just one goal in 25 Premier League appearances for the Gunners and was regularly the target of abuse from supporters for his below par performances.

Opening up on his time at the club, Willian told Sky Sports that he regretted leaving Chelsea for Arsenal.

“Yeah, I wish I’d never left," he admitted. “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."


The following season, Willian signed for Corinthians, where he tried to rediscover his form away from England.

He has since returned to London and established himself as a regular at Fulham, producing five goals and five assists in the top-flight last term.

"I’m happy now at Fulham," the 35-year-old continued. "I'm enjoying myself there, so this is life.”

“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.”


During a separate interview on Rio Ferdinand’s YouTube channel Five the same year, Willian revealed he asked his agent if he could leave Arsenal just three months after joining.

“I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t happy," he explained. "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.

“It was big money that I gave up. But sometimes money is not the most important thing in life. I think you need to be happy, get pleasure every day waking up in the morning to go to train. I wasn’t having that.

“So I said to myself, with my family, I cannot stay here, I am not happy here. I have to leave, find a way out, leave the club, because if I stay I am going to stay the same. For me, it’s unfair to stay in a place that you don’t want to stay just because of the money. For me, it was that.”

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Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: Arsenal, Mikel Arteta, Football, Premier League, Fulham, Transfers, Chelsea

Joe Adams
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