Willian says he’s very happy to reunite with old friend David Luiz and hopes the pair can lead Arsenal to great things in their twilight years.
The duo first met when they were eight and have since experienced the highs and lows of domestic and international football alongside each other during their time with Chelsea and the Brazil national team.
“He’s very happy,” Willian told Arsenal Digital. “We played together in the national team, we played together at Chelsea, and now at Arsenal again. I think we can do great things together, I hope so, but I’m very happy to be with him again.
“He said, ‘Come to Arsenal, come to Arsenal, I want you to come!’ So that was the conversation. He is a very nice guy, a top player and I’m very excited to play with him again.
“Of course [he helped in the past], many times. Many times when I had difficult times at Chelsea he was helping me a lot. He is this kind of person that wants to help, especially young players without experience. He is the guy that helps everyone.”
Given his experience, it’s expected that Willian will also play a leadership role in the dressing room when the squad reassembles next week for pre-season training.
Young compatriot Gabriel Martinelli, the third Brazilian at London Colney, is one player in particular who could benefit from the 32-year-old’s presence. Having played against the youngster a couple of times last season, it’s fair to say Willian has been impressed by his compatriot.
“He has a great future I think,” he said. “He can be one of the best players in the Premier League, no doubt.
“It’s because of his quality and also without the ball you can see that he is always trying to help his team and do the job without the ball. So I think he can be one of the best players.
“I think when he starts to play again, I know he is injured now, but when he starts again, it’s about time for him to go to the Brazilian national team.”
Unfortunately, for Gabi – who yesterday won Arsenal’s goal of the season vote for his solo effort against Chelsea – he’ll likely have to wait another five months before sharing a pitch with Willian. The 19-year-old is recovering from an operation on his knee that took place in July.