Former Arsenal and Chelsea winger, Willian, has opened up on his struggles at Emirates.
Willian, who currently plays for Fulham, admitted that playing a season behind closed doors ‘without the buzz of the crowd’ had a huge impact on him not performing well at Arsenal.
The Brazil international had joined Arsenal on a free transfer back in 2020 from Chelsea.
He only registered two assists on his debut and left the Gunners after just one year, mutually terminating his contract with Mikel Arteta’s side.
Reflecting on his time at Arsenal, Willian told the Athletic:
I think I am maybe the only player who has done something like this.
Any other player in my situation would have stayed until the end of the contract and kept picking up the money. But I’m not like this. Money is not the most important thing in the world. I have to feel good, to feel motivated to go to training. I was not having that there so I decided to leave.
On his struggles at Arsenal, Willian added:
For most of the season, we were playing without fans (because of the COVID-19 pandemic).
I didn’t see Arsenal fans. Maybe I needed to feel the buzz of the crowd, that it was something I missed. It was a difficult moment not just for me, but for everyone in the world. To play without fans at a new club is not easy.
On my last day there, I spoke with the manager Mikel Arteta. I thanked him a lot for what he had done for me, for bringing me to Arsenal. I just wished him all the best.
He is a good manager and I have great respect for Arsenal. They’re doing well, they have good players. They can achieve good things this season.