Arsenal have announced that Willian has left the club, after just one season in North London. The former-Chelsea winger will re-join Brazilian side Corinthians in Brazil (managed by former-Gunner Sylvinho), where he was a youth player and made 41 appearances for the team.
Willian’s tenure with Arsenal has been an unmitigated fiasco for both player and club.
Joining Arsenal at the beginning of last season, Willian was already off to a bad start from the fans.
First off, the transfer looked like Willian chasing one last big retirement contract in London. Second of all, it seemed like the usual black magic of his agent, Kia Joorabchian, a man Arsenal fans were already highly unhappy to see the club working with.
Willian made his first appearance for the club as Arsenal thrashed Fulham on the opening day of the season, registering three assists in the game, perhaps Arsenal fans were wrong to doubt him.
However, from there, things went slowly downhill.
Willian, though he finished the season as the club’s lead assist-provider, he failed to register a single goal from open play, and his only goal for the club being a free-kick against West Brom at home.
His poor form did also coincide with Arsenal’s terrible on-field performances, however, even among the terrible Arsenal side, he stood out the loudest.
For his part, Willian has maintained a stoic silence around the constant criticism of him. He has made no public statements and has not criticised either the club or his manager during his time with Arsenal, which has not gone unnoticed.
However, Willian’s conspicuous absence from the Arsenal first team in recent weeks has been noticeable and unmissed. Mikel Arteta seems to have acknowledged that the transfer has not gone well, with the Spaniard recently hinting that it may be time for the Brazilian to seek pastures new.
Though Arsenal will perhaps see this as a win as they only had Willian for one season, it is not a great look for the scouting department.
Willian looked like a bad transfer even before he pulled on the Arsenal shirt and he’s since proven to be just that. The fact that, journalists, pundits and fans like had all predicted a notable drop in form from the player, it’s worrying that the club’s data and analytics department did not pick it up.
It would be unfair to say that Willian will not be missed by Arsenal fans, but equally, its not inaccurate either and in reality, Willian likely won’t miss Arsenal much either.