Willian pens farewell letter to Chelsea as Arsenal move edges closer

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Willian has penned an open letter to Chelsea fans as he confirmed his exit from the club after seven years.

The Brazil international, 32, is set to sign for Arsenal this week with reports suggesting he will sign a three-year contract.

Willian signed for the Blues from Ukrainian side Anzhi Makhachkala in 2013 and made 339 appearances for the club winning two Premier League titles, the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League. He scored 63 goals and made 62 assists in the process.

After Chelsea’s season ended with a 7-1 aggregate drubbing by Bayern Munich in the Champions League – a match he missed through ‘injury’ – Willian took to social media to say his farewell.

“They were seven wonderful years. In August 2013 when I received the offer from Chelsea I was convinced that this was where I had to play. Today I am certain that it was the best of decisions. There were so many happy times, some sad, there trophies and it was always very intense.

“Yet beyond trophies, I learn a lot about myself. I developed a great deal becoming a better player and a better person. With each training session, with each game, with every minute spent in the dressing room, I was always learning.

“I am really grateful to the Chelsea fans for the affectionate way they welcomed me at Stamford Bridge and their support throughout my time at the club. There was also criticism, which is normal, what is important though is that both the affection and criticism drove me to always give my all in every training session, every game, to be constantly improving until my very last minute in a Chelsea shirt.

“The time has now come to move on. I am certainly going to miss my teammates. I will miss all the staff at the club who’ve always trated me like a son and I will miss the fans. I leave with my head held high, safe in the knowledge that I won things here and always did my best in a Chelsea shirt!

“My heartfelt thanks go out to all of you and God bless you!”

It’s shaping up to be a busy week at Arsenal. With Willian’s move set to be confirmed and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang close to agreeing a two year contract extension, efforts will then be focused on the recruitment of Brazilian defender Gabriel Magalhães from Lille. News of our interest in the 22-year-old broke last week and things appear to be moving quite quickly.

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apasserby

Anzhi Makhachkala is a Russian side, not Ukrainian.

gooner

they are all sponsoring Chelsea so Tomato tometo. Potato Poteto I could be wrong but I hate Abramovich

Johnny 4 Hats

I thought it was the Estonian’s Eurovision Song Contest wining song in 1976.

karl

Ha ha. 1976 stands out as probably the last UK winner.

Hedgehog

Great news

Adiddledog

Yeah, if!

Biggles

Well, let’s hope so. At 32, he’ll be adding £millions to the wage bill at the time we’re sacking dozens of staff and dismantling parts of the vital scouting network to save money – and there may be more cuts to come. There’s no doubt that Willian has turned in great performances for Chelsea but because of the financial position, he’ll have to make a positive impact from Day 1 – we literally can’t afford passengers now. I’m not saying he won’t, but I am keeping my fingers crossed!

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

I hope the youngsters understand what they’re doing. We believe you will become top top players in two to 3 years. For now, we need players ready to go but not in the position to compete with you in the long term. We’re doing this because we cannot afford big big transfer fees.

Biggles

At the reported £150k per week, and it could be more with add-ons, Willian will still cost around £7.5 million per season – over £21 million on a three year contract, with no resale value, given his age. If he’s great for us, that’s terrific but if he’s not (or whatever reason) then he’ll be far from cheap. If he signs for us then I really hope he’s a success – but whether it’s wages or transfer fees or both, Arsenal can’t afford failures in the current financial climate.

Drogheda Gunner

Are you paying his wages? Then don’t worry about it

Biggles

Well, yes – in a small way. As a season ticket holder, I make a contribution to the finances of the club, along with all the other thousands of Gooners who go to matches at The Emirates (when we could go). What about you, or are you an “armchair” supporter? I wonder.

nanogunner

so £21m is transfer fee then?

Biggles

Not really, wages are wages and a fee is a fee but it’s the cost of a player – in this case a 32 year old. Is that good business? Only time will tell (if we sign him which looks likely). I hope it is.

Jack

£21m including salary is a *fantastic* deal for a player of Willian’s calibre. He’s less than a year older than Auba. Getting top class players for free at this critical juncture is excellent business.

Tapps

possibly, but only if he performs.

Berlingoon

As I can’t see us playing with 2 wingers in their mid 30’s in a couple of years, is there any chance that Arteta maybe plans to play him behind the striker in the number 10 position in order to bring more creativity to our game? Think there he wouldn’t have to run and sprint that much and would probably be able to perform on a high level 1-2 years longer than on the wing. Also with Auba, Pepe, Saka, Martinelli and Nelson we’re really everything but short on the wings (and as Auba ist a certain starter you have… Read more »

Jack

Willian is at this point quite a lot better than any of the options we have on the right, and can play on the left if Auba is moved inside or if we change formation which seems plausible.

Berlingoon

He’s not better (surely not a lot better) than Pepe, Saka or Martinelli in my opinion. His stats this season show him at a similar level with all of them, while they will all develop and his numbers will most certainly decrease over the next seasons.

High gooner

Ahahhaha im sorry but i find this really funny, how people (and im not saying you’re one of them Hedgehog) were sooooo negative to this transfer when rumours first began, but as soon as those rumours grow and he gets closer to join us, all you read is “great news” and “Arteta knows”… what changed?

Group captain mandrake

I didn’t like it when it was a rumor, and I don’t like it now. We have people that play thAt position who are younger and/or aren’t paid nearly as much

Futsboller

Everyone loves a transfer, surely, and I think many people have opted not to kick out at the reality that Willian will be in an Arsenal shirt soon — why shroud it in negativity, in other words. I don’t think it’s a good transfer for us, even though I admire Willian as a player (surely someone who would have thrived at Wenger-era Arsenal) — but it’s becoming clear to me that Arteta believes he’s not just rebuilding Arsenal into a top four team, but into a contender, and he wants to do so from the vantages of a CL spot… Read more »

Group captain mandrake

It’s not shrouded in negativity. It’s an honest opinion. I think he costs too much for too long at his age (according to what’s been reported that he wants). And he’s expensive at a position that is not one of need. I’d rather they spend that money in the midfield.

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

Is he an Arteta pick though, or is it a big name with a big agent who does deals with our management way over Arteta’s head?

ArsenesLongSufferingZipper

What changed? He’s almost certainly going to become an Arsenal player, that’s what. And you support your players and hope they come good.

Faxe

I could hardly disagree more. I do not like Chelsea at all and I definitely do not like this new trend where we pick up their leftovers and pretend they are awesome.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

My woman is the leftover of somebody else. I dont even like the previous guy. That’s the way it works.

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

…but is she any good in midfield?

Qwaliteee

Well said. Totally unnecessary transfer, a waste of resources.

Johnny 4 Hats

To be fair I’m good friends with a Chelsea fan and he said “why are you friends with me? I’m a massive cunt”.

Anonymarse

You must’ve known that going int the relationship

Jack

Basing your opinion of a transfer on the selling club is pretty foolish. Don’t let your dislike of Chelsea cloud your judgement. It wouldn’t matter if we were getting him from Walsall, he’s a good player that we’re getting for no fee at a time when it is crucial that we improve. In two years his contract might be a liability but by that point he will have helped us back into a better financial position so that’s a risk worth taking.

iGooner

The only reason why i can tolerate with this signing is because I trust Arteta. And since he’ll be one of us, let’s back Willian to succeed with us!

T.A.

Yes trust in Arteta is a big factor for me too. On the face of it, I would think we could do better than spending very limited sources on a player who will be 35 by the end of his contract with us. Still, I’m sure Arteta knows better.

Twatsloch

Does Arteta have a say in this then? Just seems like we’re becoming a club for Chelsea hand-me-downs. I’m not feeling overly optimistic over a 3 year deal with a 32 year old who’ll be on high wages. One year would have made sense, not three.

atom

So while not initially crazy about it, the deal actually does make some sense. Willian is pretty versatile and likely could slot in as an attacking midfield player – an area we definitely have a hole in. Given how highly we rate ESR this would give him some time to develop into that role.

Godfrey Twatsloch

Fair enough but at what money and for how long? The reported 250k a week for a three year deal is a big financial commitment for a player who may drop in form or get injured due to his age.

Worst case we’re looking at another Özil on our hands. We can do without that. Chelsea keep offering Giroud a year at a time. We should do the same with WIllian.

Atom

Willian is still very productive & unlike Ozil doesn’t require the entire team to be built around him for that. I’m not crazy about signing a 32 year old but I can see why we’re doing it. Especially as we need to get back into the champions league to aid in the rebuild. I wouldn’t be shocked if laca ends up leaving this year either and we move Auba central with Pepe/Saka/reiss/Martinelli on the wings.

John

Yes, this deal makes a lot more sense if we’re planning to sell Laca and move Aubameyang to the middle. We’d be making a net profit and be bringing more creativity to the team.

Warthog

Totally agree John. In fact I could see us playing a 4-4-2 with Saka and WIllian giving us midfield width and combining while Xhaka and Ceballos hold down the middle.

I hope Willian and Pepe handle the set pieces and corners. Ceballos isn’t ready for that yet.

Tallest Tiz

7 years ended with 7-1

Nuff said

Johnny 4 Hats

Well we lost 10-2. So maybe with Willian we win 3-1?

Anonymarse

You do realise he wasn’t playing

MRH

Anzhi Makhachkala is not Ukrainian, it is a Russian club.

Richie

Arseblog was Russian to get this article uploaded, Ukraine surely forgive him?

Raygeclan

Hats off mate.. well done

Francesc

I think he came from shakhtar.. and anzhi is a Russian club

matt stewart

Shakhtar sold him to Anzhi, where he played a whole 11 games before the owner cut the budget from the club. Most of the squad were sold, Willian went to Chelsea from Anzhi

ArsenesLongSufferingZipper

He actually joined the Spuds from Anzhi. Mourinho hijacked AFTER his medical, and had the scum fuming from their ears. Comedy gold it was
https://www.theguardian.com/football/2013/aug/23/tottenham-chelsea-willian

ArsenesLongSufferingZipper

*hijacked his transfer

Looover

Gold you say…. Hilarious!!! Oh, the irony of football.

EZD

I have my reservations about buying older players given our financial situation, but if we get two good years out of Willian playing on the left (or maybe even centrally), and he helps teaching Saka and Martinelli to replace him and allows Auba to move to CF, I guess it will be a good signing. I don’t think it really matters if he falls off a cliff in the third year. If his wages are £100-110k, well pay around £16 or 17m for him over three years (plus any sign on / agent fees). The way I look at it,… Read more »

Anonymarse

Yep it probably does make sense when you think about it.

Should make us stronger for the next couple of seasons at least.

Runzac

Yes this signing will add depth to the squad and he will mentor youngsters

Simp for Arteta

Agree with this but it wouldn’t be the first time we Arsenald someone’s injury record

The G

I think he going to play on right.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

How long until he comes to Arsenal and is out for the dreaded “3 months”, which turns into a wholes season

RDGooner

If you come to think of it, Kolasinac earns 100K per week and I am sure Willian will any day add more than Kola does. So I am good. We need success now and the only way to get that is

Johnny 4 Hats

I had reservations to be in the Algarve right now.

Shit changes.

Torterrier

A waste of our limited resources, his stats aren’t particularly good. I hope he proves me wrong. Good luck at Arsenal.

Anonymarse

9 goals and 7 assists in the last season seems pretty good

Johnny 4 Hats

I can’t wait to hear your father / son pep talks…

Arimnestos

Every team needs older, more experienced players.

I believe Bayern had 5 players over 30 against Chelsea last night.

Johnny 4 Hats

They obviously knew about Chelsea’s “Giroud’s Arsehole” too… (now replacing Achilles’ heel)

I’m guessing David Luiz told Coutinho.

Fatgooner

Bad move. The bottom line is that we just don’t need him. Every penny we spend should be thrown at attacking the weak points in our squad, ie the defence and creative midfield. William is a decent player but we have plenty of quality attacking wide.

I hope a top centre-half arrives this summer.

Onye Igbo

He will play centrally not wide.

assistantref

Does Kia Joorabchian represented any top centre-halves? If not, it’s not gonna happen.

Futsboller

That’s actually a very good question …

Welsh Gooner

Somewhat controversial opinion but I like this signing. He is experienced, very consistent and he very rarely gets injured. Can see him being used in the Europa League alongside our youth for a bit of experience. I can see Martinelli and Nelson thriving off this guys experience. Plus, its a free. Yes wages will factor but getting a player of this calibre on a free is a good bit of business.

Anonymarse

Same here

Up4GrabsNow!

Free transfer – he already has his own song:
“Willian, Willian, he signed for nothing”

The_Golden_Wrigglesworth

Willian, the agent’s fee was really nothing.

Pakgooner

If he’s here, we will back him till the end because he’ll be an Arsenal player. I am waiting for you to prove me wrong Willian.. and greetings to the best club in the whole world

Pat Fried Rice with Egg

*from the best club in the world.

KongoKim

I have strong belief in the front three Auba(l)-Laca(m)-Pepe(l).
I also want Saka, Martinelli & Eddie gettin minutes and don’t want Reiss to be sold.
So it’s a meh from me.

KongoKim

pepe(r) obv

Artem

Anzhi is in Russia. He signed from Shakhtar Donetsk

matt stewart

No he signed from Anzhi. Was at Shakhtar, bought by Anzhi when they were cash rich, then just a few months later when it all went tits up and they sold pretty much the whole squad, Anzhi sold him to Chelsea

Harry Sunderland

no he signed from Anzhi

Qwaliteee

Normally, I’m quite enthusiastic about whoever we sign. But this…..this really is the stuff of finishing in 8th place. Pardon me if I don’t join in the mad rush, throwing cartwheels along to the club shop to snap up the new shirt with ‘Willian’ on the back of it. I’ll sit this one out….?

Goonerink

People complaining about the signing… Chelsea were desperate to keep him and not being able to bring him on hurt them massively in the fa cup

Alex

Luxury player we do not need. Not worth sacking 55 people for greasing the pocket of another Brazilian player and his agent.

Santori

PLus free transfer means likely a higher salary and we are offering him 3 years …on a 32yr old to take him to 35yrs.

Simply insane business…

It will tie us down further if not already with Pepe and Saliba committed to 20m a window with impact on spend.

And if we should be foolish enough to continue with Auba allowing emotion over thought that will be another large salary commitment on another waning asset.

It boggles the mind how some can see any of this as positive way forward in building a team.

Leon

Was a great player for Chelsea in his day.
At 32 lets say his best days are passed. I just wonder if what we are getting here.
If he turns out to be a flop, especially when Arsenal are about to lay off 55 staff members then the Arsenal ownership would lose whatever credibility they had.
I believe there are much more useful signings out there than Willian…

Qwaliteee

That’s this board in a nutshell. Pleading poverty and then wasting money on this guy’s salary. No disrespect to him, good player in his day, but a complete white elephant now. Just surplus to requirements. A waste.

assistantref

Yeah but he’s represented by you know who, which is all that matters to Raul.

Pepe's Right Foot

Please no. Say it ain’t so!?
I’m pretty sure this increases the likelihood of Lacazette leaving.

Hi-Jay

Unfortunately yes, but it does allow Auba to play up top.

Santori

Auba cannot play up top except against certain teams. He needs space to run into. He is unable to retain the ball most times and is not competitive in congestion with teams sitting deep…which will be the majority of teams we face. Plus Willian predominantly right side really will be an insurance on Pepe not Auba and an acknowledgement that despite goals and assists, the Ivorian is poor over 90 minutes off ball and allows us to be dominated. We lack ball retention out wide and as an outlet with BOTH Auba and Pepe. Neither tend to compete or hold… Read more »

Warthog

Laca is a luxury at this point, we have Auba, Pepe, Eddie and Martinelli so plenty of firepower there.

assistantref

The 55 people we laid off will pay half of his yearly wages, while crippling our ability to sign anybody but other 32 year olds represented by Kia Joorabchian.

Arteta may want him for sporting reasons, and I’m not saying he isn’t a good player, but the club is being sold down the river in the process.

We finished 8th last year. We don’t need 32 year olds so we can finish 6th next year, we need a rebuild for the future so we can finish 4th and above two or three years from now.

matt stewart

You’re right, we finished 8th. If we are to finish 4th or above in 2 or 3 years, do you not think finishing 6th next year is both an improvement and in line with your target?
Or are we to finish 8th every year until we magically hit 4th and above in 3 years time? Arteta IS rebuilding for the future. We have great youth but without experienced pros in the squad how do you propose to develop them as players whilst still competing for the european spots?

Santori

We are being fast caught up by Wolves, Leicester…

The gap is narrowing. We don’t have the luxury to rebuild this slowly and in such convoluted manner.

Don’t see us in top 4. Too many short cuts and wrong emphasis in wrong areas.

Nkem

We will welcome Willian to our club. He will add quality to the team. Just as we are expecting other quality additions, it is high time Arsenal started challenging for the PL trophy again as against hoping for a miracle to get into the top four.
Whereas we want the young players to gain playing time, we the fans also deserve to have joy watching our team play.

Santori

This is the problem. Too many people hoping for miracles.

In fact we are further behind now bc we are non competitive to City, Liverpool, Chelsea and United.

Teams like Leicester, Wolves have made shrewd choices, added technical players to close the gap and have finished above us.

Everton with Ancelotti may also consolidate and offer a threat.

And of course there is still Spurs.

We are in the second pack if anything. Forget about top 4.

Simp for Arteta

Haven’t seen a lot of Chelsea games, has he ever played up top / lone forward? Can defo see him as false 9, but what about as out and out striker?

matt stewart

I’m hoping the knowledge and professionalism of this guy will rub off on our youth over the next 3 years. Saka, Martinelli, Nelson and even Pepe can learn things from him and it is decent competition for places on the wings.
Whatever you think of Chelsea or of the transfer, a seasoned winger can only be a good addition to the squad, surely?
I’m reserving judgement on the transfer until the end of the transfer window when we can judge the squad as it is then.

Santori

Right side is a problem for us bc as much as he has weighed in with goals and assists, Pepe is erratic. Over 90 minutes, he has not done enough off ball which contributes to our lack of control in games (Auba equally guilty on other flank sometimes) As for experience, we already have older players who can influence the younger ones. What we need is effective players and versatility IMO. I don’t see this with Willian. If there is anywhere we should be spending its in the creative end of things. Willian has good ball retention but at 32yrs… Read more »

Warthog

I like what he adds to our set pieces with Pepe. Ceballos is not ready to handle that and was rather wasteful with his free kicks.

I also like what he adds in term of passing ability. He and Saka need to be fed the ball and combining with our front line as much as possible.

Craig Velociraptor

Arsenal fans bleating on about the financial implications of the deal again.

Let the billionaires worry about the finances.

Said the management of every club that went into administration?

Tapps

We are the providers of the finances – we SHOULD be concerned.

SB Still

Another reason that we don’t need scouts, the criteria to join Arsenal these days seems to be – able to speak Spanish (for Raul), be from Brazil (Edu’s criteria) and ofcourse have a particular super agent. So, why need scouts!

YaGunnersYa

I see a problem with Raul and Edu’s strategy: I don’t think there are any more former-Chelsea, Spanish-speaking, Joorabcian-respresented, thirty-plus, curly-haired Brazilians left to sign.

Santori

Used car salesmen and Arsenal and easy and willing target.

Slava

?? Bro this ? Willian signed for the Blues from Ukrainian side Anzhi Makhachkala in 2013 ? is bad ‘Anzhi Makhachkala’ from

no disrespect.

A Voice in the Noise

I agree.

Skinnyarse

Why are we buying old Chelsea players? He has past it, watch him when he plays, his legs just doesn’t have it anymore.

Santori

Wear and tear issues for sure. To me it points to the unsure nature of Arteta as he feels his way through. He is decent with tactics no doubt but man management as I mentioned before is a different aspect he was not involved in with City having Pep’s shadow to hide under. We have not handled Guendouzi well and allowed our emotions to dictate our decision. Nor have we been able to convince one of our better Cbacks in Sokratis to continue. Or find a role for Torreira even with lack of Guendouzi. Then there is the market. Arteta… Read more »

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

I very much doubt Arteta was consulted on this one.

Santori

Can’t see us challenging seriously for top 4 next season unless one of the lead contenders have a melt down. Liverpool will be there. City as well. Chelsea will be strengthened with Werner, Ziyech, Havertz (They need to add in backline). United look strong with Bruno Fernandes and prob may add Sancho. We are adding a Chelsea player on the wane, yet another Cback to a chaotic situation back there as is…throwing numbers at problem. Don’t see much coherence to our moves in market. There hasn’t been for a while and we have been paying the price since 2016 falling… Read more »

karl

I just hope these are Arteta’s choices, If so, he deserves the support after the last 6 months.