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Arsenal officially announce the signing of Willian

Arsenal have officially announced the signing of Willian on a free transfer.

The Brazilian has signed a three year contract with the Gunners worth approximately £100,000 a week. He will wear the number 12 shirt at Arsenal. He received more lucrative offers from Barcelona and Inter Miami but decided to sign for Arsenal due to the allure of the project in North London. 

He was especially excited about the prospect of working with Mikel Arteta and reuniting with Edu Gaspar, who was the general director of the Brazilian national team from 2016 to 2019.

Willian made the decision to leave Chelsea because they were only willing to offer him a two year contract and he was keen on signing a three year deal. He joined the Blues in 2013 and during his time at the club, won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, two League Cups and a Europa League. 

He scored 63 goals and provided 62 assists in 339 appearances for Chelsea. This season, he scored eleven goals and provided nine assists in 47 appearances across all competitions.

On signing for the Gunners, Willian said:

“[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 team-mates and to help this club to shine again. That’s what I want.”

“When I talked to [Mikel], the conversation was good, he gave me confidence to come to Arsenal. He said a lot of good things to me and that’s why I have come to Arsenal.”

On what position he thinks he will play at the club, he said:

“Haha, that’s a difficult question – I don’t know! I leave that to Arteta. I come to help in every position. I can play on the right, I can play in the middle, I can play on the left side as well. So I want to help – in any position where they put me to play, I will try to do my best.”

Mikel Arteta knows how crucial this summer will be for the Gunners as they look to strengthen their squad and give themselves a good chance of qualifying for the Champions League next season. Willian is the first signing of the summer transfer window. 

On sealing the signing of Willian, Mikel Arteta said:

“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 [and] he is a player that gives us a lot of versatility, he can play in three or four different positions.”

“As well he brings a lot of quality and something that we need, which is winners. He has the experience to win almost everything in the football world but still the ambition to come here and contribute to bring the club where it belongs.”

“It is many of his qualities [that appeal]. One is his ability to play in those tight spaces, his ability to play people through, to unlock, to drive with the ball and create overloads, he is a goal threat as well both in open play and with set pieces.”

“Again, it is the character that I want, the kind of player that when things get difficult in the game that wants to take responsibility, wants the ball and wants to win the game for the team and I think it is going to be a really good lift for all the players as well in terms of the quality we are bringing to the squad.”

On the addition of Willian to the Arsenal squad, technical director Edu Gaspar said:

“He has a lot of fantastic attributes as a person, as a football player of course, his character. I’m 100 per cent sure that everybody in the dressing room, the fans, myself and Mikel will enjoy having Willian in our side.”

“We tried to create a better balance in the squad but we know that takes time to balance the squad the way me and Mikel want to. To balance properly, we need to sell players, to buy players and that takes time, not just day and night.”

“It will take time but with Willian, we’ve started a big process.We’ve identified the needs in the squad and he’s the one to start to rebalance the squad as we want to.”

“I am really excited and really happy to have a player like Willian because I’m convinced he’ll be the one to impact the team straight away. That, for me, is the most important one because I think the squad needed a player like Willian to help them, to be with the guys, helping in all senses. That’s why I’m so excited.”

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