WILLIAN has suggested that he ripped up his Arsenal contract because he did not feel “motivated” and was struggling to play in front of an empty stadium.
The Brazilian winger signed for the Gunners in 2020 following a successful seven-year spell with Chelsea. He was handed a lucrative three-year contract upon arriving at the Emirates Stadium but things didn’t pan out as expected for the two-time Premier League winner.
In 37 appearances for Arsenal in his one and only campaign in North London, he scored just one goal but did manage to provide seven assists in all competitions. Despite having two years left to run on his contract, Willian made the decision to depart the club via a mutual agreement and then returned to Brazil with Corinthians.
Now back in the Premier League with Fulham, the 34-year-old has come clean on the specific reasons behind his premature Emirates exit.
Willian told The Athletic : “I think I maybe the only player who has done something like this [cancelled contract early]. Any other player in my situation would have stayed until the end of the contract and kept picking up the money.
“But I’m not like this. Money is not the most important thing in the world. I have to feel good, to feel motivated to go to training. I wasn’t having that there so I decided to leave.”
He continued: “For most of the season, we were playing without fans. I didn’t see Arsenal fans. Maybe I needed to feel the buzz of the crowd, that was something I missed. It was a difficult moment not just for me, but for everyone in the world. To play without fans at a new club is not easy.”
Willian has also revealed that he still had a cordial relationship with Gunners boss, Mikel Arteta and is expecting a positive season from his former side following a promising start to the new campaign under the Spaniard. Arsenal sit top of the Premier League with six wins from their opening seven games.