Mikel Arteta has confirmed that he’s spoken to Willian about his decision to jet off to Dubai during the Interlull despite a government warning against all but essential foreign travel.
The Brazil international is understood to have tested negative for Covid-19 on his return to London which means he’s likely to be part of Arsenal’s squad for Sunday’s trip to Leeds, however, it’s fair to say the unnecessary risk taken by the summer signing did not sit well with the club.
Asked about the situation, Arteta seemed to be in the mood to forgive and forget, pointing to the fact that Covid-19 is testing the mettle of footballers as it has everyone else. Willian is said to have justified the trip by claiming he had image-rights-related business to take care of.
“We had a conversation and I explained what I expected,” the Spaniard told his pre-Leeds press conference.
“There are a lot of personal factors at the moment and as well from our side, we need to be in their shoes.
“A lot of players are having different issues, like any person out there and sometimes they make decisions based on the needs of the moment, or what people are expecting from them.
“Whether they are right or wrong, it’s a thing that we have to discuss. But it’s been dealt with in the right way so let’s move on.”
He added: “Whatever happens internally with any issues or things that we don’t expect, as always we will try to resolve them internally. That’s been dealt with and explained, and we move on.”
Arteta is equally keen to move on from the bust-up between David Luiz and Dani Ceballos that made headlines. While the latter declared The Athletic’s exclusive to be ‘fake‘, the boss hinted that a run-of-the-mill training ground coming together had happened and that everyone has since moved on.
“Training is very competitive and issues happen a lot of the time, but those things get resolved immediately within the team,” he said. “There’s not much to say.
On whether there’s any lingering animosity, Arteta confirmed there’s, “no problem at all” before channelling his inner Arsene Wenger by stating, “I’ve got a really bad vision from far away! That’s why we train behind closed doors.”