Willian is adamant he has not broken any rules following his lockdown trip to Dubai and has told Arsenal’s hierarchy the journey was made for business reasons.
The 32-year-old was left out of Brazil’s latest squad and instead opted to use the international break to spend time in Dubai despite the UK’s current lockdown restrictions preventing people from any ‘non-essential travel’ abroad.
Willian’s trip was flagged only after he visited the Nusr-Et steakhouse and posed for a picture with its owner, ‘Salt Bae’, who shared the picture on Instagram.
Although anyone returning from the United Arab Emirates does not need to self-isolate, Willian’s trip means he will be unable to return to training until he has provided a negative Covid-19 test.
Arsenal were unaware of the trip beforehand and launched an investigation to ‘establish the full facts’, with Willian needing a legitimate reason to have made the trip to Dubai.
According to The Evening Standard, Willian does not believe he has done anything wrong and the business trip falls within government guidelines.
Rules current state that ‘travelling away from home, including internationally, is restricted from England except in limited circumstances such as for work or education’.
Because Willian claims he was fulfilling image contracts in Asia, he believes the trip abroad meets the exemption criteria.
Regardless, the veteran winger – who has not scored or assisted since the opening day of the season – will still need to return a negative test before he can begin training again, creating another headache for manager Mikel Arteta.
The Spanish coach is already without Mohamed Elneny and Sead Kolasinac, who both tested positive for Covid-19 on international duty, while skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a nightmare of a time during his trip to face Gambia with Gabon.
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