David Luiz has backed Willian to come good at Arsenal despite the former Chelsea attacker making a poor start to life in North London, according to ESPN Brasil via Goal.
Willian joined the Gunners on a free transfer last summer after his contract with Chelsea expired. He signed a lucrative three-year contract with the North London club and was talked up by manager Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu Gaspar as one of their chief transfer targets.
It was believed that the Brazilian’s versatility and Premier League experience would help Arteta’s side kick on and challenge for a place in the top four. Gooners were on the fence about whether this was the right profile of signing but got behind the 32-year-old before the season started.
In the 2020/21 campaign, Willian is yet to find the back of the net and has provided just three assists in 22 appearances across all competitions. The Brazilian has struggled for form in an Arsenal shirt and has recently found himself out of the team as a result of competition from the likes of Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith-Rowe and Nicolas Pepe.
Luiz made the same switch from Chelsea to Arsenal in the summer of 2019 and has talked about how moving to a rival club is challenging as your ex-club’s fanbase is sad about your departure while your new club’s supporters take time to warm up to you.
He has admitted that Willian is struggling to find form at the Emirates but has praised his compatriot’s mentality, attitude and technical ability. He has backed the 32-year-old to bring joy to Arsenal over the next few years.
On Willian, Luiz said:
“Few people know the person Willian. But those who do know can’t say they don’t love him. Because everyone loves him as a person.”
“Everyone knows the player Willian. And everyone knows Willian’s potential. And he doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone after so many years at the highest level. And he’s in a moment which is not so pleasant on the individual level because things are not happening.”
“But he’s an experienced, intelligent guy, who knows what he should know, and what he must do every day.”
“You don’t see Willian murmuring about training, you don’t see Willian not training. He’s always dedicated, he’s looking for the best, to improve, to grow. You don’t see Willian with an ugly face on the bench. All those things.”
“So he’s a guy who will get through this, he will get through this moment and he’ll still bring a lot of joy to Arsenal, to this club. Because there’s this turbulence, just as I had in the first few months.”
“It’s not easy, you change clubs, from one rival to another, you have all the cannons facing you. Everything you do people will compare [to what you’d done before].”
“Supporters on one side who loved you are sad because you left and are nervous. Supporters on the other side, who cheered against you, are like, ‘I’m not going to like this guy who came from the other side’.”
“You end up feeling, in a way, just a little unsure until you adapt. My first months weren’t easy, and that’s what I try to pass on to Willian. ‘Calm down, things will work out, things will happen. Just keep working because you’re you, there’s no way to change. You’re a great person and you’re a great player. Calm down. Things are going to happen’.”
“That’s what we try. Everyone already loves Willian here, so I know that things will happen in the best possible way soon.”