Willian apologises to Arsenal fans in emotional statement after exit

Willian has issued a lengthy statement after his exit was confirmed by Arsenal, apologising for his disappointing one-year spell and sending his best wishes to those he leaves behind at the club.

The 33-year-old forward still had two years remaining on his £200k-a-week contract, but will rejoin boyhood team Corinthians after it was mutually agreed he could leave the Gunners this summer.

The Brazil international arrived at the Emirates on a free transfer back in August 2020 and managed just one goal for the north London outfit in all competitions last season.

Throughout his underwhelming spell at Arsenal, Willian has been the first to admit his form has been a disappointment and the veteran attacker said he was ‘sorry’ for failing to live up to expectations as he broke his silence on Instagram on Monday night.

The former Chelsea man also hit out at those who accused him of joining Arsenal purely for ‘financial reasons’ ahead of the 2020/21 campaign.

‘I would like to thank Arsenal for the opportunity they have given to me and for the warm welcome received by everybody at the club,’ Willian said.

‘Unfortunately things on the pitch didn’t go the way we had all planned and hoped, I received a lot of criticism especially from some members of the press that I had come here for financial reasons… I hope with my actions today explain to those people and they now understand that was not the case.

‘I hope it teaches some people that they should not be so quick to pass judgement and create bad environments to make themselves important even though I accept that’s part of the game.

‘All my career I have done everything to be the best I can be I always want to win and I find it hard to accept not doing so. Unfortunately it didn’t happen for me at Arsenal and I am sorry about that.’

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He went on: ‘I came to England in 2013 and I have enjoyed every minute of my time here. I want to thank everyone who has helped me along the way to play in this wonderful league that is full of heart and spirit.

‘To the Arsenal fans I am sorry we never got to meet properly due to the pandemic but I know your desire for success and your support for the club is incredible so I wish you all the best for the future because you deserve it.

‘To everyone else involved with this historic club I wish you all the best for the future.’

Willian received messages of support from several Arsenal players in the replies to his post, with Reiss Nelson and Gabriel Magalhaes among those to reach out with kind messages.

‘What an amazing role model to every young player. I will miss you a lot and hope to see you soon,’ Nelson said.

Fellow countryman Gabriel responded: ‘God bless you my brother! It’s been a pleasure to be able to play alongside you.’

Willian had a promising start to his Arsenal career, providing two assists on his debut in the club’s 3-0 victory at Fulham at the start of last season.

But the two-time Premier League winner badly struggled to maintain his form over the following months and was on the receiving end of heavy criticism from supporters and pundits.

Talking to the media ahead of Arsenal’s 5-0 defeat to champions Manchester City, Arteta confirmed that the club were in talks with Willian and his representative over his future.

‘We are having some conversations with him and the agent,’ the Spaniard told reporters.

‘We’re evaluating the position we’re in at the moment.’

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