Arsenal sign Willian on free transfer from Chelsea

Arsenal sign Willian
Photo credit: Arsenal
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Arsenal sign Willian: Every now and then, a transfer rumor turns out to be founded in truth and accurate reporting.

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Take, for example, Arsenal’s reported pursuit of former Chelsea winger Willian, whose contract with the Blues expired upon their elimination from the Champions League last week and whom every outlet in the UK had linked with a move to the Gunners. On Friday, that transfer came to fruition when ‘Arsenal sign Willian’ actually became a real thing.

The 32-year-old (his birthday was Sunday) joins on a three-year deal which will expire just before he turns 35 in the summer of 2023. Chelsea were quite keen on retaining the Brazilian, but their offer was second-best as they were only willing to offer a two-year deal.

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta sounded quite pleased with his latest capture, pointing to Willian’s considerable experience at an extremely high level as a major selling point — quotes from the club’s official website:

“I believe he’s a player that can really make a difference for us. We have been monitoring him for the past few months, we had a clear intention to strengthen in the attacking midfielder and the winger positions. He is a player that gives us a lot of versatility, he can play in three or four different positions.

“He has the experience of everything in the football world, but to still have the ambition to come here and contribute to bring the club where it belongs. I have been really impressed with all the talks I have had with him and how much he wanted to come.”

Likewise, Willian is impressed with the early days of Arteta’s tenure.

“[I like] the way they play, everything is amazing — the stadium, and I think that with Arteta, Arsenal have a great opportunity to fight again for titles in the Premier League and in Europe so I’m very happy because of that. I’m excited to start. I can’t wait to go on the pitch and do my thing to help my teammates and to help this club to shine again. That’s what I want.