According to multiple sources, Willian has reached an agreement with Corinthians and is not set to join the Brazilian side as a free agent, with Arsenal more than happy to cut him loose without compensation two years before his contract would have expired.
The experienced winger arrived to the Emirates from Chelsea last year as a player of notable pedigree and a reputation of a proven winner. He had won the Premier League title twice at Stamford Bridge, along with one FA Cup and one League Cup. He was also named Chelse’s Player of the Year twice, in 2015-16 and 2017-18. Overall, he had spent seven years there, scoring 63 goals along with 62 assists in 339 games in all competitions.
However, it’s been a different story at Arsenal, and those who might have expected similar output for the Gunners would have been disappointed. Despite playing 37 matches in his first season in North London, he only managed to score once. As time went by, manager Mikel Arteta relied more on the likes of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe on the attacking flanks, as well as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe.
Meanwhile, Willian has been earning £240,000 peer week, and his departure is now expected to save the club close to £20 million over the remaining two seasons of his contract. He has apparently accepted a pay cut of 70% to return to his country.
Arteta confirmed the talks about a potential departure of the 33-year-old in a recent press conference.
“We are having some conversations with him and the agent, and we are evaluating the position that we are in at the moment,” the boss said ahead of the humiliating 5-0 defeat to Premier League champions Manchester City at the Etihad on Saturday. He also said he didn’t know why Willian’s spell with Arsenal didn’t rise up to the expectations.