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The Brazilian has also admitted, during an extensive interview with Rio Ferdinand’s YouTube channel Five, that he wanted to stay at Chelsea instead of joining Arsenal but they were unwilling to give him a three-year deal.
Willian, in the end, joined Arsenal in the summer of 2020 on a free transfer, but he left the club 12 months later by walking away from the final two years of his contract to join Brazilian club Corinthians.
The 33-year-old has now lifted the lid on his time at Arsenal, revealing he took a financial hit to leave and that he wanted to get out after just three months.
“I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t happy. That’s why I didn’t perform. I don’t want to go into the details,” Willian told Rio Ferdinand’s YouTube channel Five.
“When I arrived there I was happy, from the beginning I was motivated, I wanted to do well - new club, new mates, new project.
“But after three months, I said to my agent: ‘Please, I want to go’. I don’t want to speak bad about the club, because it is a big club. Arsenal has a big history.
“In football, big players played there before as well. But it didn’t work, it didn’t work. It was, of course, the most difficult time of my career.
“It was big money that I gave up. But sometimes money is not the most important thing in life. I think you need to be happy, get pleasure every day waking up in the morning to go to train. I wasn’t having that.
“So I said to myself, with my family, I cannot stay here, I am not happy here. I have to leave, find a way out, leave the club, because if I stay I am going to stay the same. For me, it’s unfair to stay in a place that you don’t want to stay just because of the money. For me, it was that.”
Willian has also revealed that he wanted to stay at Chelsea instead of joining Arsenal, but his contract demands scuppered that.
“It was difficult to decide, because I wanted to stay at Chelsea,” he said, when asked why he decided to join Arsenal.
“But I wanted a three-year contract and Chelsea say: ‘No we want to give you two years’. So it was like this - they say two, I say three, they say two, I say three.
“At the end of the season, I decided to join Arsenal and also because before we had conversations with Edu and Mikel [Arteta] as well. They showed me a good project, they showed me a lot of good stuff that they want to do. It was because of that.
“I say well, I want three years, Arsenal wants to give me three years, I want to stay in England, I want to stay in London, my family is happy in London, maybe it is a good opportunity to go there and continue what I am doing.”